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The North Queensland Cowboys have upset the Parramatta Eels 24-20 at Parramatta Stadium this evening. The Cowboys held a commanding 20-0 lead at halftime but were almost run down with the Eels getting within a converted try with just over five minutes remaining.
The Cowboys lost Josh Hannay to a neck ijnury midway through the first half and with Hannay stretchered from the field, Nathan Cayless was placed on report for a high tackle that will seehim charged by the judiciary on Momday morning.
Both teams scored four tries a piece but goalkicking proved the difference with the Cowboys missing only one shot while Luke Burt missed two for the Eels that ultimately proved the difference in the final washup.
Best for the Cowboys were captain Travis Norton who scored a double while for the Eels Nathan Hindmarsh was again the standout player. The result sees the Cowboys overtake the Sharks after their loss to the Dragons while the Eels find themsleves on the edge of the top eight but there are worrying signs for caoch Brian Smith with the Eels falling to "inferior" opposition for the second consecutive week.
Graham Murray on the other hand bought himself some much needed breathing space but he must learn how to replicate the Cowboys away form to victories at home before people will take them seriously as contender for the top eight.
EELS Tries: Dykes, Morris, Hindmarsh, Grothe Goals: Burt 2/4 COWBOYS Tries: Norton x 2, Sweeney, Myles. Goals: Hannay 3/3, Sweeney 1/2.
By the clock: 1st min: Kickoff! We are underway at Parramatta Stadium.
2nd min: TRY - Cowboys. Travis Norton opens the Cowboys account with a good try. Conversion successful. Cowboys 6-0.
18th min: TRY - Cowboys. Neil Sweeney gets the Cowboys second try as they open up a handy lead. Conversion successful. Cowboys 12-0.
26th min: TRY - Cowboys. David Myles puts another try past the Eels defence with a big defecit now facing them, the going looks tough for the remainder of the game. Conversion successful. Cowboys 18-0.
NEWS: Josh Hannay has left the field on the medicab with a neck injury. More news as it comes to hand. A big blow to the Cowboys as Hannay is their sharpshooting goalkicker. Nathan Cayless has been placed on report as a result of the incident.
39th Mmin: PENALTY GOAL - Cowboys. Neil Sweeney fills the void left by Josh Hannay to extend the Cowboys lead by two a minute out from half time. Cowboys 20-0.
HALF TIME: The Cowboys hold a commanding 20 point lead and with the cold and windy conditions tonight, Parramatta will need a monumental effort to come back and win this game.
Here we go for the second forty minutes. Say your prayers Eels fans...
42nd min: TRY - Eels. Adam Dykes gets the Eels first to give them a sniff of a comeback. Time is on their side. Conversion successful. Cowboys 20-6.
47th min: TRY - Eels. John Morris gets the Eels second as their comeback starts to gain momentum. Conversion unsuccessful. Cowboys 20-10.
65th min: TRY - Eels. Nathan Hindmarsh gets the Eels third try with just under fifteen minutes remaining. They are right back in the hunt now and have all the momentum. Conversion successful. Cowboys 20-16.
68th min: TRY - Cowboys. Travis Norton gets a double and snuffs out any Eels comeback in the process. Conversion successful. Cowboys 24-16.
74th min: TRY - Eels. The Eels aren't done just yet. Eric Grothe continues his great form with another try to move the Eels within a converted try of the lead. Conversion successful. Cowboys 24-20.
FULL TIME: The Cowboys have recorded their second win of the year and again away from home. The Eels have slumped to their second consecutive loss and now find themselves precariously placed at the edge of the top eight. The Cowboys have breathed a little life back into their campaign but it remains to be seen if they can record back to back wins.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - Travis Norton(Cowboys) 2 - Nathan Hindmarsh(Eels) 1 - Neil Sweeney(Cowboys) -----------------------------------------