Cowboys destroy distracted Tigers

The discontent at the Wests Tigers doesn't look like dying down any time soon with the North Queensland Cowboys taking the visitors apart with a comprehensive 64-6 victory tonight in front of over 12,000 fans at 1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville.

After another week of conjecture about "who said what", "who's running the show" and "just what is Robbie Farah getting at", many expected the Tigers to come out and put in a backs against the wall kind of performance, but it was the Cowboys who came out and dominated from the opening exchanges. Mitchell Moses let the kickoff bounce dead, forcing a line drop-out. The Cowboys managed a further repeat set before Matthew Wright opened the scoring.

Wright managed two fantastic tries after the opener to secure a hat-trick within the first 15 minutes - the second fastest in NRL history behind David Vaealiki (Eels, 12 minutes v Panthers) in 2001. The Cowboys raced the clock for large parts of the first half, with Tariq Sims, Jason Taumalolo and Antonio Winterstein all adding their name to the scorers list to have the hosts 32-0 up at the break.

Mick Potter's halftime chat to his Wests Tigers' charges must've done little because the second half started similarly to the first, Winterstein claiming his second try, before LeagueUnlimited man of the match Michael Morgan crashed over to push his side past the 40-point barrier. The Tigers did manage to trouble the scorers in the 58th minute when Aaron Woods slammed the ball down, but it created a slippery slide which resulted in a Cowboys try immediately after - then several more. Tautau Moga scored twice before fulltime, while Jason Taumalolo and Kane Linnett also grabbed a meat pie each.

It was literally a night where everything that could go wrong for the Tigers pretty much did. Simple errors, kickoff calamaties and turnstile-like defence all point to one thing - more pressure on the coach, the management and the board. What it means in the coming days is anyone's guess.

The first priority for the players in black & gold will be a trip home to face the Roosters at Leichhardt on Saturday night next weekend - while the Cowboys have a road-trip booked to meet the Panthers on Monday night in Close the Gap round.


Match Details
North Queensland Cowboys 64 Wests Tigers 6
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium
Crowd: 12317
Halftime Score: North Queensland Cowboys 32 Wests Tigers 0

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Michael Morgan
2 points - Tautau Moga
1 point - Jason Taumalolo

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (64)
Tries: Matthew Wright (3), Tariq Sims, Jason Taumalolo (2), Antonio Winterstein (2), Michael Morgan, Tautau Moga (2), Kane Linnett
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (8/12)

WESTS TIGERS (6)
Tries: Aaron Woods
Conversions: Cory Paterson (1/1)


LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

The battle for spots in the eight continues in Townsville tonight - the Tigers are teetering on the brink of falling out of contention while the Cowboys have recently risen into the eight and will be keen to keep their spot. Can the Tigers put the leadership drama behind them and upset the Cowboys newfound rich vein of form... or are the hosts on a run to their second NRL grand final appearance?

LATE MAIL | Cowboys fans there's not much to report - John Asiata drops off the five-man bench meaning the home side is 1-17.

LATE MAIL | Mick Potter's been busy with the white-out and pen today. Bodene Thompson (suspended), Pat Richards, Luke Brooks and Keith Galloway (injuries) are all out. The backs are simple - Chris Lawrence replaces Thompson, Kurtis Rowe comes in on the wing for Richards.
Here's where it gets fun. Blake Austin moves to halfback, Curtis Sironen comes from the second row to play five-eighth. Adam Blair takes the vacant second row slot which brings Sauaso Sue into lock off the bench. Ava Seumanufagai replaces Galloway at prop, and there are two new faces on the bench with Cory Paterson and Jack Buchanan. Got that? Good. Hit the "Teams and Info" tab to clear up any confusion.

And we have game time. The Tigers are out on the park in their orange kit, while the Cowboys are celebrating members week and have the names of their members across their navy coloured home jersey. Let's go!

1: UNFORCED ERROR WESTS TIGERS
Mitchell Moses makes an unforced error.

Awwkward..... Mitchell Moses lets it go dead from the kickoff. Tigers line drop-out.

2: Michael Morgan offloads as he runs for the line - Blair intercepts it but he's tackled in goal. Another drop-out.

3: Possible TRY to the Cowboys for Matthew Wright... looks good, just checking grounding.

3: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Matthew Wright. Kick to come.

And it's awarded. Good numbers to the right, quick hands and BAM - home side capitalises early. Wright scores.

4: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.

Thurston hooks his first attempt.

9: UNFORCED ERROR WESTS TIGERS
Chris Lawrence makes an unforced error.

Simple errors cruelling the Tigers here, Lawrence spills a swirling Mitchell Moses pass on his own 40m. Cowboys scrum.

12: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Matthew Wright. Kick to come.

Wright gets another double! Moga held the ball up perfectly for him, great try in the corner.

13: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.

Low and ugly, this one misses as well.

15: Cowboys absolutely hammering the Tigers' line, unrelenting pressure... and it's VIDEO REFEREE time - possible try to Matt Wright... a hat trick inside 15 minutes?

16: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Matthew Wright. Kick to come.

Hat trick awarded! How quick was that! Tigers capitulating. Wright's scored in the corner.

16: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Third time's the charm! Thurston gets this one on the right track and the lead is fourteen.

20: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Tariq Sims. Kick to come.

Oh they've carved up the middle. Morgan through a yawning gap and Tariq backs up on the inside... under the sticks is where it's scored.

21: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

No issue for JT from in front... scary form from the Cowboys so far.

26: Tigers not looking like having anything doing. Concede a penalty which gives the Cowboys the ball on halfway.

28: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Jason Taumalolo. Kick to come.

Taumalolo bursts through, puts on a sidestep and opens his scoring account for 2014. No nudie run for Jason!

29: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Easy done. Five tries, three goals. This could get ugly.

30: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Antonio Winterstein. Kick to come.

Wow. No words.

32: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Thurston from the far touchline... nails it, just!

34: BREAKING: The Wests Tigers are on the attack.

35: UNFORCED ERROR WESTS TIGERS
Mitchell Moses makes an unforced error.

Dear me. Moses pushes it wide... behind Lawrence and Paterson... and into touch. It's almost comical.

39: Pretty slow finish to this first half, both sides just pushing end to end and driving kicks into touch.

40: Well... you can only imagine that short of a miracle comeback, the Tigers will be under more media pressure over the coming week. It's been like shelling peas really, for the Cowboys - easy tries for the first half hour. If the Tigers don't come out with a better defensive attitude, the game is done... and the futures of some of their leaders might be too.

43: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Antonio Winterstein. Kick to come.

Antonio has a double - and the Cowboys pick up from where they left off in the first half in opening up the second half.

44: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Thurston from the near touchline, good curve, between the posts.

45: INJURY UPDATE: Keith Lulia won't be returning. We have a CROWD figure of 12,317.

46: Tigers looked likely down the left but Lawrence's last pass to Paterson was woeful and Cory inadvertently kicked it dead. Cowboys 20m restart.

48: Tigers take advantage of a Cowboys error and now will attack the Cowboys' line.

50: And just like that the Tigers hand it over and it moves on to the Cowboys advancing up the park. They force a drop-out too.

51: VIDEO REFEREE possible Cowboys TRY to Michael Morgan. We're checking obstruction.

52: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Michael Morgan. Kick to come.

Morgan's run an inside line off Thurston and gone in under the posts.

53: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

No problems here, Thurston pushes it to 44.

58: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Matthew Wright makes an unforced error.

Tigers on the attack... Wright pounces on a loose pass... but drops it.

58: VIDEO REFEREE possible Tigers try with Aaron Woods scoring under the posts. Checking obstruction and grounding.

58: TRY WESTS TIGERS
Scored by Aaron Woods. Kick to come.

And nearly an hour into proceedings, the Tigers use a repeat set and Woods pushes his way to the tryline and slams it down. They break the duck!

59: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION WESTS TIGERS
Conversion attempt by Cory Paterson successful.

Paterson makes it six.

60: Tigers lose it from the kickoff... Cowboys scrum 10m out.

60: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Tautau Moga. Kick to come.

Moga forces his way over for a powerful try on the right edge.

62: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.

Thurston misses out on converting the Cowboys to fifty.

64: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Kane Linnett. Kick to come.

Linnett forces his way across... and the hosts pass by the fifty mark.

66: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Thurston curls it into the left upright and it bounces through neatly.

70: Time off here, Tim Simona's put a shoulder charge on Tautau Moga. Cowboys penalty with ten left.

70: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Jason Taumalolo. Kick to come.

Tigers intercept... then lose it into Taumalolo's hands... he crosses despite the attention of a Tigers' defender. Just... no words.

71: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Thurston nails it to take us to SIXTY.

76: Cowboys surge up the park again, they'll want at least two more tries out of this surely...

78: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Tautau Moga. Kick to come.

Twelfth try. Moga scores again. It's officially a procession.

80: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.

Thurston tries a left footed goalkick but it's faded away to the right.

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