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An impressive second half has guided the Sydney Roosters to a tense 22-16 win over the North Queensland Cowboys at a sparsely-populated Allianz Stadium tonight.
Despite a strong start, the Roosters found themselves down 16-6 at the break, an early Latrell Mitchell left side break and try from halfway cancelled out in the 18th minute when Kane Linnett danced over on the Cowboys' left side, then a Kyle Feldt special on the other side after 26 minutes.
Lachlan Coote had a hand in both of the Cowboys first two tries, hitting the line and delivering perfect passes for the respective tryscorers. The Cowboys' third try however wasn't as spectacular - and a whole lot more controversial - when Coen Hess barged over just after the half-hour mark. The Origin rookie claimed a try, referee Atkins sending it up with the trademark T symbol. No camera angles could discredit the call (although none showed the ball being grounded, either) and the Cowboys had their third try.
Strangely enough, that would be the visiting side's last action on the scoreboard for the match. Ahead by ten at halftime, North Queensland conceded an early second half try when Mitchell drew in Feldt and found Daniel Tupou skipping along down the left wing. Trailing by six, it took til nearly the hour mark before the scores could be levelled, Sio Siua Taukeiaho nabbing the hosts' third try after 58 minutes.
It sparked the Tricolours into action once more and just two sets after the SST try Luke Keary looked to take on the line himself and reaped the reward - scoring a simple try on the left side to put his team ahead for the first time since the first 15 minutes.
What followed was the type of grind you'd expect from a finals-quality contest, the only further addition to the scoreline being a 68th-minute Latrell Mitchell penalty goal which put the home team ahead by six points and ensured they would need their opposition to score twice to be any chance of stealing victory.
Put simply the Cowboys didn't have the tricks in the bag to get across the line in those final minutes and the Roosters' solid defence did it's job and delivered them to level footing with the Storm ahead of their match with Manly tomorrow.
The Roosters will take the two competition points and a winning formline to Lottoland next Sunday when they visit the Sea Eagles, while the Cowboys are at home when they face the might of Melbourne at 1300SMILES Stadium on Friday night.
Sydney Roosters 22 - North Queensland Cowboys 16
Venue: Allianz Stadium
Halftime Score: Sydney Roosters 6 North Queensland Cowboys 16
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Sio Siua Taukeiaho
2 points - Lachlan Coote
1 points - Luke Keary
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (22)
Tries: Latrell Mitchell, Daniel Tupou, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Luke Keary
Conversions: Latrell Mitchell (1/2), Sio Siua Taukeiaho (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Latrell Mitchell (1/1)
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (16)
Tries: Kane Linnett, Kyle Feldt, Coen Hess
Conversions: Ethan Lowe (2/3)