Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Fulltime score: Round 4 Cowboys 52 v Knights 18
From the word go the Cowboys looked very impressive but it has to be said Andrew Johns is starting to look like the Johns of old and as the Knights start getting some of their stars back on deck, the Knights are a chance of moving off the bottom of the NRL ladder.
The night belonged to the Cowboys though with Josh Hannay providing the home team with the midas touch until he left the field midway through the second half with a cut head. Hannay cut the Knights paper this defence to bits on numerous occasions with his partner in crime Matt Sing also having an outstanding game.
Even though the Knights lost there was more of an effort and that is one positive Knights coach Michael Hagan can take from tonight?s game.
The Cowboys remain firmly entrenched in the top four and the Cowboys fans were delirious with the victory and you can?t blame them as they have waited so long for a successful team and now they have a premiership contender based on their form over the past three weeks.
The Knights have it all in front of them as they continue to search for their first win in 2005 and stay firmly anchored at the wrong end of the table.
Score details: Scorers: COWBOYS 52 Tries: Hannay x 2, Bowen, Williams, Sing x 2, J Smith, Southern, Thurston. Goals: Hannay 5/7, J Smith 2/2, D Myles 1/1 defeated KNIGHTS 18 Tries: Carmont, M Gidley, C Smith Goals: Johns 3/3
Dairy Farmers Stadium Referees: Jason Robinson/Shayne Hayne
By the clock: 0 min: Another sell out at Dairy Farmers as the Cowboys look to consolidate a spot in the top four at the hands of the Newcastle Knights.
5th min: TRY - Cowboys. Josh Hannay scores a miracle try after Jonathan Thurston threw a cut out pass to send Matt Sing down the sideline then Sing chipped ahead and batted the ball back over the dead ball to a waiting Josh Hannay. Conversion unsuccessful. Cowboys 4-0.
10th min: TRY - Cowboys. Josh Hannay gets his second try in quick time as the Knights are starting to look tired and unless they can fix their defence, they could be in for another hiding.
15th min: TRY - Knights. George Carmont scores the Knights first try as Andrew Johns looks to be a lot fitter and hence a lot more involved in the game. Conversion successful. Cowboys 10-6.
21st min: TRY - Cowboys. Matt Bowen scores after a length of the field run from Jonathan Thurston and Ty Williams send Bowen across for the Cowboys third try. Newcastle should have scored at the other end but made a meal of it and the Cowboys made them pay. Conversion successful. Cowboys 16-6.
25th min: TRY - Cowboys. Ty Williams gets in on the act as Newcastle simply cannot keep up with the Cowboys speed and offloads. Conversion successful. Cowboys 22-6.
28th min: TRY - Knights. Matt Gidley scores a much needed try for the Knights right in the corner. A very important phase of the game coming and if the Knights can limit the Cowboys scoring until half time they will feel they are in with a shot in the second half. Conversion successful. Cowboys 22-12.
32nd min: TRY - Cowboys. Matt Sing scores a superb try as Josh Hannay gives George Carmont a bath for the third time tonight. A truly sensational try from the Cowboys. Conversion successful. Cowboys 28-12.
38th min: Matt Sing takes an Andrew Johns bomb to perfection as the Knights fire their last bullet before the half time break. It was another blank unfortunately.
40th min: PENALTY GOAL - Cowboys. Josh Hannay extends the Cowboys lead to three converted tries right on half time. Newcastle need to start praying hard if they are to have a hope of winning this match. Cowboys 30-12.
41st min: We are underway in Townsville for the second half with the Cowboys eyeing off a spot in the top four and the Knights looking to get away from the bottom four.
44th min: TRY - Knights. Craig Smith in his first game back in the NRL scores under the black dot to get the Knights back into the game. Conversion successful. Cowboys 30-18.
52nd min: TRY - Cowboys. Justin Smith scores after Josh Hannay tapped back a Matt Bowen kick straight into the arms of the waiting Smith. Hannay has had an outstanding match. Conversion unsuccessful. Cowboys 34-18.
59th min: Tensions are running high between the two teams and there has been a scuffle between Luke O'Donnell and Kurt Gidley after Dustin Cooper took Bowen high in a desperate cover tackle and has been placed on report by referee Jason Robinson.
60th min: TRY - Cowboys. Matt Sing seals the Cowboys win as he scores a trademark try off a Matt Bowen bomb to send the North Queensland faithful into raptures. Conversion successful. Cowboys 40-18.
68th min: TRY - Cowboys. Hard working back rower Steve Southern gets in on the act scoring adjacent to the posts after the ball went straight through the hands of Ty Williams. Can the Cowboys reach 50? Conversion successful. Cowboys 46-18.
74th min: TRY - Cowboys. The Cowboys crack half a ton against the Knights as Jonathan Thurston rubs salt into the proverbial gaping wound of Newcastle. Conversion successful. Cowboys 52-18.
FULL TIME: Congrats to the Cowboys who blew the hapless Knights off the park and recorded their largest ever victory over the Knights. The Cowboys look stronger, faster and fitter than the Knights and at the back end of the game it showed how professional the Cowboys have become.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - Matt Sing (Cowboys) 2 - Josh Hannay (Cowboys) 1 - Steve Southern (Cowboys) -----------------------------------------