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North Queensland proved too good for Cronulla at Toyota Stadium handing the Sharks their fourth consecutive defeat, a 30 points to 12 thrashing in front of 7,340 fans.
Cronulla dominated the first half in both attack and defence but failed to penetrate despite having all the attacking play in the first 30 minutes. The North Queensland defence held firm and some Cronulla errors helped keep the Sharks out.
Sharks added injury to insult in the first half with Nathan Gardner and Albert Kelly both coming off the field with injury in the opening 30. These problems began to hurt the home side with the Cowboys starting to find some time in the Sharks red zone and converted it to points late in the first half.
First points came in the thirty third minute with a try to Gavin Cooper in his 100th first grade game. 2 goals, a conversion and a penalty goal both booted by Johnathan Thurston followed to take the Cowboys into the interval 8 - 0 up.
Sharks continued to put on a valiant effort in the second half but still failed where it counted unable to penetrate the North Queensland defensive line and put points on the board. Sharks were the better side of the match but failed where it counted most.
Cowboys on the other hand succeeded the only place Sharks were failing and got the first points of the second forty in 50th minute with a four pointer to Fai-Fai Loa grounded just inside the dead ball line. Thurston struck beautifully continuing to pain the home side on the score board.
Cronulla continued to fight but to no avail, managing only to put on a try for the opposition after failing to clean up at the back gifting a try to Ashley Graham. Thurston struck gloriously with the boot and the Cowboys had a 20 - 0 lead coming into the final quarter of the match.
Despite gallant efforts from the Gallen led Sharks, North Queensland continued to put on a try every tenth minute of the second forty crossing again in the 70th minute with a second try to Gavin Cooper, again converted by Thurston putting the game out of reach for the Sharks with a 26 point lead with only ten left on the clock.
In the 73rd minute although too late for the game, Cronulla managed to find a way over the line putting on their first points of the match through a strong effort from Luke Douglas after a set play. Matthew Wright made easy work of the conversion and the Sharks looked willing to fight for an impossible victory.
Sharks crossed again in the 77th minute, this time through Gallen throwing a dummy and going in himself, Matthew Wright nailed the conversion in seconds but it was all mere consolation after North Queensland scored an intercept try in the final minute of the game through Willie Tonga to finish the game with a 30 point to 12 victory.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12 were defeated by North Queensland Cowboys 30
National Rugby League - Round 7 - Saturday April 23, 2011 5:30pm
Venue: Toyota Stadium
Referee: Gavin Badger and Steve Lyons
Video Referee: Bernard Sutton
Touch Judges: Adam Reid and Clayton Sharpe
Halftime: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 0 North Queensland Cowboys 8
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Johnathan Thurston (4 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
2 Points - Gavin Cooper (2 Tries)
1 Point - Paul Gallen (1 Try)
CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (12)
Tries: Paul Gallen, Luke Douglas
Conversions: Matthew Wright (2/2)
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (30)
Tries: Ashley Graham, Willie Tonga, Gavin Cooper (2), Kalifa Fai-Fai Loa
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (4/5)
Penalty Goals: Johnathan Thurston (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Hello and welcome to Toyota Cup for this round 7 clash between the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks and the North Queensland Cowboys. The homeside Cronulla took out the earlier Toyota Cup match 36 - 20.
TEAM NEWS: The Sharks have lost Colin Best and Dean Collis takes his place in the centres. Taulima Tautai comes onto the Sharks bench with Johnny Mannah dropping off having played the NSW Cup match. For the Cowboys Ashton Sims and Scott Bolton will be starting on the bench with Tamou in jumper 18 and Cooper in 17 taking their starting positions respectively. Segeyaro has been culled from the bench.
A minute silence is being observed on the field to commemorate Anzac Day.
1 min: Thurston kicks us off from the southern end of the ground.
1 min: Gavin Cooper plays at the ball and Sharks get six agin on halfway.
2 min: PENALTY to Cronulla ten metres inside North Queensland territory, good chance for them to go on the attack early.
3 min: Kelly stab kicks a shocker on the last to let the visitors off the hook, after some decent online defence from the Cowboys.
4 min: Decent first set from the Cowboys and a clearing kick from Bowen makes Gardner work, but he almost streaks through.
4 min: PENALTY to the Sharks, Graham with a rough tackle on Garner to attempt to stop him but earn Cronulla a penalty.
5 min: Sharks doing all the attacking here, but the North Queensland defence is standing firm and Cronulla's last tackle options not helping them penetrate.
6 min: North Queensland not making many metres in defence, relying on the boot to try to keep Cronulla out of attacking zone.
7 min: PENALTY number 3 to the Sharks, very ill disciplined from North Queensland.
8 min: Almost a TRY to Cronulla but Gallen's pass ruled to be forward and Cowboys are again let off the hook and awarded a scrum 10 metres out from their own line.
8 min: Cowboys cannot make it to halfway line with ball in hand, really not offering much thusfar, but appear to have taken Gardner out of the game, he has hobbled off the field.
10 min: Cronulla looking good in attack, Fai-Fai Loa cleans up beautifully.
11 min: Cowboys earn their first repeat set with Cronulla hands playing at the ball and they find their way past halfway.
12 min: Good attacking set from North Queensland, but solid defence and a pass goes over the sideline to give Cronulla a scrum 10 out from their own line.
13 min: Sharks make it past half way, starting to show some signs of fatigue here.
14 min: Cowboys force a scrum 10 out with a boot going out the sideline giving both teams a much needed breather.
15 min: Both teams take full advantage of the breather taking a while to get this scrum happening.
16 min: Grat attacking set from the Sharks, everyone working well, but a good read from Thurston stops a certain try, collecting best after a great mark.
17 min: Cowboys have only had one decent attacking set, still struggling to get out of their half.
18 min: Good fortune for the Cowboys, Graham appears to have dropped it, but referee Lyon rules that Sharks hands hit out and awards the scrum to North Queensland.
19 min: Wright doing a great job at the back for Cronulla with Gardner off the field cleaning up easily, Cowboys not offering much here.
20 min: Sharks looking the much better side in both attack and defence, but Cows doing a good job protecting their line.
21 min: Winterstein throws a terrible pass and Fai-Fai Loa can't hold on to it, another chance for Cronulla to attack.
22 min: Matthew Wright flicks a ball over the eastern touchline. sharks starting to do a good job preventing their own tries.
23 min: Attacking boot from Thurston, but again Wright does well cleaning up. Cowboys still struggling to find good field position to attack the Cronulla line.
24 min: PENALTY against the Cowboys, Glenn Hall lays down a little too long, chance for Cronulla to punish them for this ill discipline.
25 min: Tupou loses the ball in a Thurston tackle to give the ball back to North Queensland by way of a scrum.
26 min: Thurston forced to kick 35 out from his own line, Sharks looking the far better side here but still have not managed any points.
27 min: Ashley Graham cleans up well at the back for North Queensland.
28 min: Cowboys bomb from 10 metres out from halfway and Wright under no pressure drops it cold. Great opportunity for the Cowboys to strike from 10 metres out.
29 min: Hall loses the ball in the tackle and another turn over.
30 min: Albert Kelly kicks on dead in goal to give the Cowboys a march to their twenty.
31 min: PENALTY to the Cowboys 11 metres out. Cowboys first penalty of the night in great attacking position.
31 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible North Queensland TRY.
34 min: TRY
TRY to the Cowboys! After several replays suggesting the third umpire was looking for a penalty try. Thurston put Cooper in through some flimsy Cronulla defence after an opening 30 minutes which was all Cronulla bar the scoreboard. Thurston converts.
North Queensland Cowboys 6-0
34 min: Albert Kelly has just limped off the field.
35 min: Try seems to have energised the Cowboys who have managed to make decent metres in their set.
35 min: Dubious call ruling Sharks to have knocked on, big call awarding the Cowboys a scrum 30 metres out from the Cronulla line.
36 min: John Williams forced to dive on a Thurston boot and Cowboys get a line drop out.
37 min: Great try saving tackle from Jeremy Smith on Bolton keeps the Cowboys out.
38 min: Fai-Fai Loa butchers a try dropping a gift from Bowen and Sharks get the ball back.
39 min: Josh Cordoba drops it invitin the Cowboys back in before halftime.
39 min: PENALTY to the Cowboys, their first of the night, and they appear to be taking the 2.
40 min: PENALTY GOAL
Cowboys take the 2 and Thurston gets them.
North Queensland Cowboys 8-0
40 min: The half time hooter blows and Sharks head in down 8 - 0 despite being the better side for the first half an hour.
41 min: Game back on.
41 min: Good set from the Cowboys to open the second half, Sharks forced to work in out from their own in goal.
42 min: Bad news fro the Sharks - Albert Kelly supected broken leg, Nathan Gardner will also take no further part in the game after failing the medical staff test at half time.
43 min: Sharks a shadow of the team that started the first half not offering much in attack here.
43 min: Roles have reversed with Cowboys ahead on the socreboard them looking the far more liekly now.
44 min: PENALTY and a much needed one too to the Sharks to get them out of their own territory.
45 min: PENALTY another one to the Sharks about ten out from the Cowboys line, great chance to attack.
46 min: Little grubber kick from Wade Graham easily cleaned up by Bowen and North Queensland have the ball back.
47 min: Not a great kick by Bowen cleaned up with a half break from Williams.
48 min: Exciting attacking set from Cronulla but Smiths grubber just a little bit too strong.
49 min: Cronulla hands on the ball give the Cowboys six again.
50 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible North Queensland TRY.
51 min: TRY
TRY to the Cowboys. North Queensland with all the luck here, Fai-Fai Loa grounds it just inside the dead ball line, picking up a pinpoint kick from Thurston. Conversion from Thurston successful.
North Queensland Cowboys 14-0
52 min: Cronulla fighting hard here, but this 14 point deficit could prove too much for them.
53 min: Cowboys coasting now and Cronulla don't have the right answers.
54 min: Attempted 40/20 but Wright cleans it up for Cronulla.
55 min: A poor kick from Graham to end the Cronulla set and North Queensland get a 20 metre tap.
56 min: Thurston forcing the game down Cronulla's end of the field with a grubber kick finding touch ten out.
57 min: Cronulla fighting but can't seem to find their way to the try line.
58 min: Mix up in goal before Wade Graham eventually grounds the ball in goal for a line drop out.
61 min: TRY Northern Storm
TRY to the Cowboys. Sharks failed to clean up at the back and Ashley Graham scores for the Cowboys. Conversion from Thurston successful to all but put the Sharks away coming into the final quarter.
North Queensland Cowboys 20-0
62 min: Cowboys putting an enormous amount of pressure on the Sharks now who are being hurt by the loss of attacking weapons Gardner and Kelly.
63 min: Cowboys putting the sword to the Sharks who are running out of energy.
64 min: Forward pass from Thurston gives Cronulla scrum a couple of metres short of halfway.
65 min: Snowden puts in a stab kick getting the ball on the last, not a bad kick but Bowen cleans up.
67 min: Sharks not offering much and the Cowboys doing well to defend their lead.
68 min: Thurston forces a ball free, Cowboys starting to administer some pain on the home side.
70 min: TRY
TRY to the Cowboys. The nail being put in the Sharks' coffin now. Gavin Cooper scores his second and Thurston converts. Pomeroy getting his wrist strapped out there, could be another injury, looks as though he really wants to come off the field.
North Queensland Cowboys 26-0
71 min: Scrum to the Sharks who need something to add respectabilit to the scoreline.
72 min: PENALTY to the Sharks, good chance for a consolation try now.
73 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Good little set play and Douglas gets over to score. Matthew Wright converts.
North Queensland Cowboys 26-6
74 min: Sharks muster great energy, too late to take the game back, but gallant effort nonetheless.
75 min: Mistake from Fai-Fai Loa and more good attacking position for the Sharks.
76 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Gallen dummies and goes straight through. Quick kick from Matthew Wright and he nails it.
North Queensland Cowboys 26-12
77 min: Slower set from Cronulla, it's been a long game for them with little reward despite some great football.
80 min: TRY
TRY to the Cowboys. Intercept given to Tonga and a long range try, almost caught by Douglas, but Tonga too fast and cruises over. Thurston misses his last shot at goal of the night.
North Queensland Cowboys 30-12
80 min: The hooter blows and that will be the ball game, North Queensland taking it out 30 points to 12.