80:00
Sat 3 June 2017
1300SMILES Stadium - Crowd: 14612

Composed Cowboys outlast gutsy Titans

Michael Morgan has starred in Jonathan Thurston's absence, leading the Cowboys to a critical 20-8 victory over a resilient Titans side.

The Cowboys opened the all-Queensland derby with dominant field possession courtesy of early errors from the Titans. Yet, despite strong running from forwards John Asiata and Jason Tamaulolo, the Gold Coast side were typically resilient in denying the Cowboys on multiple occasions.

By the 17th minute, the Cowboys had had a whopping 34 tackles in the Titans' half and still had nothing to show for it. However, the Gold Coast line was finally broken in the 20th minute when Michael Morgan strolled through after fending off Jarryd Hayne to give the Cowboys the early lead.

The Titans continued to hold on stoutly and were eventually rewarded in the 35th minute when Ash Taylor threw a perfect short ball for Dale Copley who burst through and linked with Taylor who scored under the posts.

Unbelievably, a late penalty saw Taylor kick over a penalty goal to give his side an unlikely 8-6 lead at the break, despite only having 42% of the ball.

However, the Cowboys would be the first to score points in the second half. A penalty ten out from the Gold Coast line presented the perfect chance for Kyle Feldt to lock things up.

Yet, the Cowboys backed themselves instead and Granville gave it to Coen Hess who surged over for his ninth try of the year. The Cowboys soon shot out to a 14-8 lead after Morgan took the line on and caught out an offside Jarrod Wallace.

As hard as they were trying, the Titans were struggling to contain a rampaging Cowboys forward pack from gaining easy metres and the home side posted points soon after when a repeat set resulted in Feldt diving over in the corner to extend his side's lead to ten.

The Titans were struggling to get field possession against a smart Cowboys team who continued to build pressure and they found themselves down 20-8 soon after when they failed to kick a dropout in time. Both sides had late chances to post points but it was a sloppy end with the Cowboys holding on for an important 20-8 win.        

Ultimately, the victory can be summarised by one statistic which proved the Titans' downfall - The North Queensland pack ran for a combined 852 metres, the Gold Coast pack amassed just 442.                                                                                                      

The Cowboys will likely welcome back Jonathan Thurston for next week's Saturday night clash at TIO Stadium against the Eels. Meanwhile, the Titans travel back home to CBUS Super Stadium to take on the desperate Warriors on Saturday afternoon.

3. Michael Morgan

A composed performance by the fill-in halfback. A try, line break, seven tackle busts, 141 running metres and a very polished short and long kicking game. Steered around his side very professionally.

2. Jason Taumalolo

A lazy 225 running metres from the big man who threatened to break through the line on multiple occasions. More than proving he is worth his $10 million price tag.

1. Coen Hess

Between Ash Taylor and Hess. But 140 metres, a line break and try in just 35 minutes sees Hess take the point.