Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
The North Queensland have kept pressure on the NRL top four after accounting for a valiant Warriors side 24-12 in Townsville tonight in front of 16,000 fans.
In what was a fairly even contest most of the evening, Bunty Afoa shocked the home crowd when he opened the scoring for the night, putting the Warriors 6-0 ahead after ten minutes.
It wasn't until Justin O'Neill crossed for the home side in the 20th minute that scores were levelled. The Cowboys started gaining the ascendency and with five left in the half Javid Bowen put the Cowboys ahead, but the Warriors responded stoically with Simon Mannering scoring a well-earned try on the stroke of halftime.
With scores level at halftime, the first opportunity for points came at the 50-minute mark when Ethan Lowe converted a penalty goal for a two-point buffer. It would be Lowe who barged over for the next try of the contest near to the hour mark.
The Warriors put as much pressure as they could, but the Cowboys held resolute at 18-12 until the very last minute - a wayward offload 10m from the hosts' line led to the visitors conceding late when Bowen bagged his second with a 90 metre sprint.
The 24-12 win sets the Cowboys up for a big showdown in Sydney next weekend when they visit the Roosters, while the Warriors' season is now effectively on life support with a home game against premiers and top-four side Cronulla coming up next Friday.
North Queensland Cowboys 24 - Warriors 12
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium
Halftime Score: North Queensland Cowboys 12 Warriors 12
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jason Taumalolo
2 points - Coen Hess
1 points - Simon Mannering
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (24)
Tries: Justin O'Neill, Ethan Lowe, Javid Bowen (2)
Conversions: Ethan Lowe (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Ethan Lowe (1/1)
Tries: Bunty Afoa, Simon Mannering
Conversions: Issac Luke (2/2)