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Fulltime score: Round 3 North Queensland Cowboys 40 v Melbourne Storm 8
Match summary: The North Queensland Cowboys have posted a 40-8 victory to outclass the Melbourne Storm in Townsville tonight.
Five-eighth Johnathan Thurston continues his tremendous form after posting a personal tally of two tries and eight goals from as many attempts, equalling the club record of 24 points set by himself and centre Josh Hannay.
But the victory has come at a cost with news that centre Ty Williams suffered a broken ankle midway through the second half.
The Cowboys took just eight minutes to score with a finely worked try to winger Neil Sweeney. In a sign of things to come, Thurston landed the conversion from the sideline.
The North Queenslanders were in again four minutes later through second rower Luke O'Donnell before Thurston added a conversion and a penalty goal. After 20 minutes, the Cowboys held a handy 14-0 lead.
Storm winger Matt Geyer got the visitors on the board after 26 minutes after a set move created an overlap out wide. Forward Cameron Smith was unable to add the extras.
North Queensland struck back in the 30th minute after fullback Matt Bowen put Ty Williams through. A penalty goal on the stroke of half time put the Cowboys further ahead and at the break, the home side held a commanding 22-4 lead.
The Storm open the second half with a try to winger Jake Webster, but it would the last time the Melbourne side would trouble the scoreboard attendants.
The Cowboys ran in the next three tries with Thurston getting a double, including a crowd pleasing intercept and 50 metre dash to the line, before centre Paul Bowman scored out wide late in the match.
Sat 7:30pm(Qld) 8:30pm(Syd) 25 Mar 2006 Dairy Farmers Stadium Referee: Russell Smith
Scorers: North Queensland Cowboys: 40 Tries: Paul Bowman, Luke O'Donnell, Johnathan Thurston(2), Ty Williams, Neil Sweeney Goals: Johnathan Thurston 8/8 defeated Melbourne Storm: 8 Tries: Matt Geyer, Jake Webster Goals: Cameron Smith 0/2 Live Commentary: Kick off in Townsville!
8 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys A try to Niel Sweeney out wide, first blood to the Cowboys. Set up by Johnathan Thurston and the Cowboys had the numbers. Sideline conversion successful to Thurston. Cowboys 6-0
12 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys O'Donnell scores easy try for the Cowboys from close range. Video ref happy with the grounding. Thurston successful with conversion from almost in front. Cowboys 12-0
20 min: PENALTY GOAL North Queensland Cowboys Penalty goal Thurston. Storm penalised for interference in the play-the-ball. Cowboys 14-0
26 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Matt Geyer gets Melbourne on the board, an overlap and scoring in the corner from a set play. Conversion unsuccessful from Cameron Smith. Cowboys 14-4
30 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Ty Williams scores for the Cowboys. Set up by Matt Bowen. Thurston adds the extras from almost in front. Cowboys 20-4
39 min: PENALTY GOAL North Queensland Cowboys Thurston adds a penalty goal right on half time. Penalty for a high tackle. Cowboys 22-4
Half time: Cowboys 22-4
45 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Try to Webster out wide. Conversion from Smith unsuccessful. Cowboys 22-8
50 min: NO TRY - Storm denied after video ref rules obstruction.
52 min: NO TRY - Cowboys denied after Steve Southern is held up by Billy Slater.
53 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Thurston puts the home side further ahead with an intercept from halfway. He converts from out wide. Cowboys 28-8
58 min: NEWS - FIGHT. A bit of a dust up after Storm players take exception to a high tackle. Storm get the penalty and its back to the match.
60 min: NEWS Storm fullback Billy Slater on report for a late tackle.
61 min: NEWS Cowboys centre Ty Williams assisted off by medi-cab with a leg injury. Plenty of injuries on both sides.
63 min: Still 28-8 in favour of the Cowboys.
64 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Thurston sells a dummy and crosses to get a double. He converts as the Cowboys are dominating. Cowboys 34-8
72 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Paul Bowman scores out wide after a grubber kick from Brett Firman. Thurston kicks the conversion to get the Cowboys to 40 and put in a perfect 8/8 kicking effort. He equals his and Josh Hannay's club's record for points in a game (24 points). Cowboys 40-8
Full time: Cowboys 40-8 ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - Johnathan Thurston 2 - Steven Southern 1 - Luke O'Donnell -----------------------------------------