The North Queensland Cowboys have romped home to a 42-14 win over a lacklustre Parramatta Eels side in front of a crowd of 13,285 at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville.
In what was an extremely one-sided affair, it was ultimately poor starts in each half that cost the Eels in a tough night for them in Northern Queensland. The Eels just couldn't get any decent amount of ball at any point throughout the match, with possession flow sitting at over 60% to the Cowboys for the majority of the game.
The Cowboys impressive victory was built on the back of a dominant performance from their giant forward pack with Australia and New South Wales hopeful James Tamou finishing the match with over 170 run metres, closely followed by a strong performance from second rower Jason Taumalolo who ended the match with over 140 run metres.
It took only 5 minutes for the Cowboys to open up their account for the night with Johnathan Thurston chasing through on a Michael Morgan grubber to get the night's first try. Two more Cowboys tries followed in quick succession with Matthew Scott and Curtis Rona both adding their own tries within the 20 minute mark.
Amazingly, despite hardly having any ball, the Eels were able to get within four points of the Cowboys at halftime. Paul Green wouldn't have been happy with the soft defence shown from his side as Ken Sio went over in the 25th minute, followed by a 33rd minute Pauli Pauli try with what were basically their only two chances of the half. Chris Sandow took the score to 18-14 and within a converted try with a penalty goal right on half time.
The second half began as the first did, with Kane Linnett scoring only 5 minutes into the half. When Sandow went himself and got over the line 10 minutes later, it looked as though the Eels might be back in it, however the video referee correctly ruled that Sandow had knocked on in attempting to ground the ball.
A second Kane Linnett try in the 57th minute, followed by a second Curtis Rona try in the 65th ended any hope of an Eels fight back, not that it was ever likely. A brilliant individual try to Morgan in the 70th minute sealed what was a great night for the Cowboys as he grubbered in behind the Eels defence before chasing through on his own kick for to give his team a 42-14 win.
There were a couple of nervous moments for NSW fans as Origin hopefuls Nathan Peats and Jarryd Hayne took knocks late in the match. Despite both of them staying down for a while, they both alleviated any concerns by finishing out the match.
Both sides will have a much needed, and well deserved week off as the representative season begins next weekend. Some will be hoping for a representative call up with Australia playing New Zealand on Friday night before City takes on Country on Sunday afternoon.