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Fulltime score: Round 17 North Queensland Cowboys 24 v New Zealand Warriors 16
The match was played at a fast pace with the scores deadlocked at ten all. In hindsight, the half time break was the catalyst for the Cowboys to turn their game around and get back into the match although the Warriors did score first through Ruben Wiki but the Cowboys found their game and kept at it patiently, putting the result beyond doubt in the 76th minute through a try to winger Neil Sweeney.
For the Warriors, Ruben Wiki was outstanding and the game was there for the taking but too many unforced errors cost the Warriors late in the game. The loss leaves the Warriors in 12th position, just one point adrift of the Bulldogs, who also lost tonight, and are the Warriors opponents next weekend. The loser can kiss 2005 goodbye and start planning for next year.
The Cowboys needed the win to get their premiership campaign back on track after their one point loss to the Raiders in Canberra last weekend and in front of a parochial home crowd, they did it tough but they were impressive in the back end of the game.
Scorers: NTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS 24 Tries: Jensen 2, Sweeney 2, Faiumu Goals: Hannay 2/5 NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS 16 Tries: Vatuvei, Koopu, Wiki Goals: Jones 2/3
Dairy Farmers Stadium Referee: Tony Archer Half time: 10-all
Live commentary: 1st min: We are underway in Townsville.
3rd min: TRY - Cowboys. A strong start by the Cowboys sees DFavid Faiumu cross under the posts to give the Cowboys first points. Conversion successful. Cowboys 6-0.
10th min: TRY - Cowboys. Rod Jensen pounces on a grubber to extend the Cowboys lead. Conversion unsuccessful. Cowboys 10-0.
15th min: It's all Cowboys at the moment with the Warriors barely hanging on and another Cowboys try would make it very tough for the Warriors to come back.
19th min: TRY - Warriors. Vatuvei scores in the corner to get the Warriors back into the match midway through the first half. Conversion unsuccessful. Cowboys 10-4.
35th min: TRY - Warriors. Koopu crosses after sustained Warriors pressure and the Warriors are finishing the first half far stronger than the Cowboys. They are rolling over the advantage line with consumate ease. Conversion successful. 10 all.
HALF TIME: The Warriors finished the first half far stronger thanks to some blockbusting runs by Ruben Wiki, one of which should have been a try if not for a desperate ankle tap on Brent Webb by Justin Smith. The game is there for the taking for both side but if the Warriors start the second half the way they finished the first, they have the power and speed to run over the Cowboys.
41st min: We are underway in the second half.
43rd min: Warriors almost score as Stacey Jones beats the Cowboyes defence with some excellent footwork.
44th min: TRY - Warriors. Ruben Wiki scores under the post as Lance Hohoia beat the Cowboys defence to send the big man on his way. Conversion successful. Warriors 16-10.
51st min: The Cowboys are struggling with a couple of injuries but the Warriors look to be going off the boil slightly so it's still very much anyones game.
56th min: TRY - Cowboys. Neil Sweeney scores in teh corner after Josh Hannay did an amazing no look flick pass off the ground right into the chest of Sweeney. Conversion unsuccessful. Warriors 16-14.
62nd min: TRY - Cowboys. Rod Jensen bags a double as the Cowboys exploit the Warriors down the blind side with some excelelnt ball movement, inside and out. Conversion unsuccessful. Cowboys 18-16.
70th min: Cowboys attacking the Warriors line to put the result beyond doubt.
71st min: Cowboys kick the ball dead to take the pressure off the Warriors. Still time for the Warriors to snatch a win.
76th min: TRY - Cowboys. Neil Sweeney scores in the corner to seal the match for the Cowboys and keep them on course for a top four finish. This loss could really hurt the Warriors. Conversion successful. Cowboys 24-16.
FULL TIME: The Cowboys have won a hard fought victory over the Warriors and they came from behind in a spirited second half display that keeps them in the hunt for a top four finish. The Warriors now face the prospect of coming from a long way back if they are to make the top eight. ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - R Jensen (Cowboys) 2 - R Wiki (Warriors) 1 - D Faiumu (Cowboys) -----------------------------------------