Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Fulltime score: Round 7 North Queensland Cowboys 36 v Penrith Panthers 22.
The score flattered the home team to an extent as they struggled to find their rhythm despite their large share of possession. Both teams played hard in the early exchanges, with plenty of big hits and a few line breaks.
The Cowboys gained the ascendency at halftime through opportunistic play with Rod Jensen finding the line on the stroke of the break, taking the visitors to a 12-4 lead.
In the second half, Penrith fought valiantly to get themselves back in the game, trailing by just 2 points with six minutes to go. Their comeback was thwarted though, with a last-ditch effort by the Cowboys snuffing out the reprisal, seeing them walk out 36-22 winners.
Scorers: PANTHERS Tries: Lewis, Franze, Rooney, Priddis Goals: Campbell 3/4 COWBOYS Tries: M. Bowen 2, Jensen 2, Luck, B. Bowen Goals: Hannay 6/6
Referee: Jason Robinson. Penrith Stadium. Halftime: Cowboys 12-4.
By the clock:
Kick-off: And the Cowboys get us underway in the first half!
6 min: No score yet, but lots of ball movement and plenty of end to end action.
12 min: Penrtith held up over the line after constant pressure to the Cowboys.
18 min: Still no score but there have been a few half chances. Both teams playing an open yet tough style of footy.
20 min: TRY - Matty Bowen under the post with a blinding break, following a Rhys Wesser mistake. John Thurstone also instrumental. Hannay adds the extras, Cowboys lead 6 - 0.
29 min: Still absorbing play here. Penrith have a good opportunity in the Cowboys half if they can take advantage.
30 min: Priddis penalised for a double movement after landing a metre out from the Cowboys line and attempting to extend over it. Nth Qld receive the penalty and work it out of their half.
34 min: TRY- Panthers. Luke Lewis scores for the home side off a bomb which was left to bounce by the Cowboys. Campbell shaves the right upright and the Cowboys lead 6-4.
40 min: TRY - Cowboys. Rockin' Rod Jensen scores on the stroke of half time next the uprights to extend Nth Qld's lead. Hannay adds the extras and the Cowboys lead 12-4.
Half time: A dour struggle out here at Penrith Park. The game looks ready to explode, but has been bogged down with mediocre play. The forwards a dominating and the Cowboys have been playing well and were lucky to score two opportunistic tries. Penrith will have to up the ante if they are to win this vital encounter.
41 min: And we're underway in the second half through the boot of the Panthers.
43 min: TRY - Panthers. Franze goes in for Penrith on the left side of the field after some soft defence. Campbell convert and the score is 12-10 to Nth Qld.
53 min: A very sloppy affair in many ways. Many balls are finding the ground through poor play or passing.
55 min: TRY - Cowboys. Replacement Michael Luck barges over underneath the posts from close range. Hannay makes no mistake. Coboys 18 Panthers 10.
63 min: TRY - Cowboys. Matt Bowen under the posts after a failed attacking raid by Penrith. The bomb went up, there was a bit of uncertainty, then Jensen took off down the sideline and found Bowen inside. Hannay converts to give the Cowboys a 24-10 lead.
66 min: TRY - Panthers. Luke Rooney scores after some very poor defence down the left side of the field by the Cowboys. Campbell converts from 5m in and the Cowboys lead 24-16.
74 min: TRY - Panthers. Following a penalty for an indiscretion in the play the ball, Luke Priddis dives over from dummy half. Campbell converts and all of a sudden we have a 2-point game. Cowboys 24 Panthers 22.
75 min: TRY - Cowboys. Brenton Bowen takes an intercept from Craig Gower and races to the line. Looks liek they've wrapped this one up the Cowboys. Hannay converts and the score is 30-22 in favour of the visitors.
77 min: Panthers kick it out on the full from the restart and put the final nail in the coffin.
79 min: TRY - Cowboys. Jensen scores in the corner from a Carl Webb off-load to finish off the Panthers. Hannay converts and the score is 36-22 in favour of Nth Qld.
Full time: The Cowboys come out on top here after a hard fought victory away from home. Constant pressure and stiff defence paved the way for a somewhat ugly victory, but the Cowboys will be happy to walk away with the two points.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Bowen (Cowboys) 2 - R Jensen (Cowboys) 1 - P Campbell (Panthers) -----------------------------------------