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A very wet Dairy Farmers and only the die-hard fans set the stage for a round 3 encounter between the Parramatta Eels and the North Queensland Cowboys which saw the home side stampede their guests with a 42-6 demolition.
The visiting Parramatta side started the game strongly, but a failure to complete their sets and finish off good early opportunities in poor weather conditions would later prove costly. The Cowboys began the game in a particularly underwhelming fashion, but weren't hurt by this after Parramatta continued to stop themselves short.
Once the Eels were done squandering their own opportunities, they began offering some to their hosts. The Cowboys, however, were more willing to take them and in the 16th minute posted the first points of the game through Matthew Scott.
It was then, not just the heavens unlocking the floodgates but the Parramatta defence with the help of their attack began to do so also. By the end of the half, Parramatta had conceded 8 errors and 5 tries. Before the half was over, Cowboys young gun Jason Taumalolo had announced himself and lived up to all his pre-season hype.
Cowboys first half scorers were Scott, Ashley Graham in the 23rd and 34th minutes, Taumalolo in the 31st and Matt Bowen in the 36th. Johnathan Thurston converted 3/5 of the tries. The half time hooter was a God send for the Eels who went into the interval trailing 26 points to zero.
The second half began slowly despite a small reprieve from the rain. Parramatta began to play smarter football and a better completion rate ensued. A bigger reward came in the 55th minute when Pat O'Hanlon posted some points on the board for the blue and golds.
The closest Parramatta came after that was a disallowed try in the 61st minute. They weren't helped by captain Hindmarsh spending an extended stint on the bench and proceeded not to do themselves any favours with some handling errors. The Cowboys who already had a big lead needed to do very little to maintain it.
The Cowboys coasted along for much of the second half and then, when the game was out of Parramatta's reach, North Queensland used the final ten minutes to ensure that it would be defeat and humiliation that their guests would be walking away with, putting on a further 3 tries in the final passages to claim their biggest ever win over their similarly coloured compatriots.
The final ten saw Kane Linnett score his first try for his new team in the 71st minute, Ashley Graham complete his hat-trick for the match in the 76th and Gavin Cooper cap off the utter humiliation of the blue and golds in the 80th. Johnathan Thurston improved his conversion rate and Parramatta suffered a merciless 42 point to 6 drubbing.
North Queensland Cowboys 42 defeated Parramatta Eels 6
National Rugby League - Round 3 - Saturday March 17, 2012 7:30pm
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Referee: Adam Devcich and Chris James
Video Referee: Paul Mellor
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Nick Beashel
Halftime: North Queensland Cowboys 26 Parramatta Eels 0
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (42)
Tries: Matt Bowen, Matthew Scott, Ashley Graham (3), Gavin Cooper, Kane Linnett, Jason Taumalolo
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (5/8)
PARRAMATTA EELS (6)
Tries: Patrick O'Hanlon
Conversions: Chris Sandow (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Join the conversation - follow LeagueUnlimited on Twitter and tweet about the match using the Official Hashtag = #NRLnqlpar.
You can also discuss the match with thousands of other fans in our Game Day Forums - click here. Good Evening and welcome to Dairy Farmers Stadium for a round 3 clash between the Parramatta Eels and the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Toyota Cup curtain raiser was taken out by the young Parramatta side who defeated the Cowboys under 20s side 30 piints to 22.
TEAM NEWS: The Cowboys are 1-17 as per program, whilst the Eels have one change with Pat O'Hanlon in jumper 19 coming into replace the injured Fuifui Moimoi.
1 min: The whistle blows, the Cowboys kick off and Parramatta have first use of the football.
2 min: Dynamic football from Parramatta in their first set, they almost get a try from it too, but it is called back for a forward pass.
4 min: The Cowboys kicking game tonight is really helping the Eels, just giving it to them on their 40.
5 min: No urgency from the Cowboys on the kick returns, but they are helped by an Eels handling error which would otherwise have cost them a try.
6 min: PENALTY to the Cowboys against Lasalo for a second effort.
7 min: Knock on ruled against the Eels and Cowboys get a scrum out.
8 min: The Cowboys squander the excellent opportunity they were given with a knock on of their own.
10 min: In unpleasant conditions, this has been a strong start to this match from the visiting Parramatta side, whilst the Cowboys have, just like their crowd, appeared rather underwhelming.
12 min: Ray Thompson produces a wonderful kick return for the Cowboys, but they can't keep any momentum and a knock on gifts Parramatta scrum 25 out.
13 min: Parramatta produce a mistake and North Queensland receive a big let off.
16 min: Eels concede a silly PENALTY ten out and the Cowboys are primed to score.
18 min: TRY
TRY to the Cowboys!
A smart dummy half play from Aaron Payne puts Matthew Scott in to score next to the posts. Thurston converts.
North Queensland Cowboys 6-0
19 min: Knock on Cowboys and Eels have a scrum a few metres shy of halfway.
22 min: The Eels gift North Queensland a scrum on the Parramatta side of halfway.
23 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible North Queensland TRY.
25 min: TRY Northern Storm
TRY to the Cowboys
It has been awarded, Graham appeared to have dropped it, but the Cowboys are awarded the four points for a try in the corner. Thurston's conversion attempt is waved away.
North Queensland Cowboys 10-0
26 min: Another Parramatta error and a North Queensland scrum 20 out.
28 min: Eels somehow get out of gaol on their own line.
29 min: Maitua almost gets through the Cowboys' line, but then loses the football.
30 min: Matt Bowen lands a 40/20.
32 min: TRY
Cowboys youngster Jason Taumalolo barges over Parramatta defence and Cowboys have their third. The conversion attempt is awful.
North Queensland Cowboys 14-0
35 min: TRY Northern Storm
TRY to the Cowboys
Taumalolo has scored one and set up another and now Graham is awarded his second. Thurston converts.
North Queensland Cowboys 20-0
36 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible North Queensland TRY.
37 min: TRY
A team try from the Cowboys and Matt Bowen's name is added to the scoreboard. Thurston converts.
North Queensland Cowboys 26-0
38 min: James Tamou appears to be in agony in back play, clutching at his left knee.
39 min: Parramatta have their hands on the football for the first time in a while.
40 min: Chris Sandow kicks the ball out on the full and the Cowboys will start their last set of the half 40 from the Parramatta line.
40 min: The hooter goes off and North Queensland go into the sheds ahead 26 points to nothing.
41 min: Second half under way and the rain has relented for the commencement of this half. 43 min: The Cowboys were threatening the Parramatta line until Thurston gave away a PENALTY for being in front of the kicker.
46 min: Parramatta trying to salvage something from this match early in this second half.
47 min: Solid attacking raid from the Cowboys now, but they grind themselves to a halt.
49 min: PENALTY to the Eels and here is an opportunity for them.
50 min: Play has stopped after a knock on and Ben Roberts is on the ground in all sort of trouble, decision overturned, Segeyaro is penalised and put on report for causing Roberts' problems.
51 min: Sandow puts a cross-field bomb up and it is knocked on by the Cowboys and the Eels have a wonderful opportunity to post their first points.
52 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Parramatta TRY.
52 min: NO TRY! Obstruction and it is now seriously bucketing down in North Queensland.
56 min: TRY
TRY to the Eels!
Sandow creates some space for Patty O'Hanlon who finds his way through for the Eels' first points of the evening. Sandow adds the extras.
North Queensland Cowboys 26-6
57 min: Tough call against Parramatta for a knock on and Cowboys have a scrum on the 40 metre line their own side of half way.
59 min: PENALTY against the Eels to help North Queensland out of their own red zone.
61 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible North Queensland TRY.
61 min: NO TRY! Graham is deemed to have knocked on and the Eels have a 20 metre restart.
62 min: Errors both ways and the match situation continues to favour the home side.
66 min: Eels ruled to have knocked on in goal, first goal line drop out of the night impends.
67 min: Knock on North Queensland 10 out.
69 min: Attempted intercept gone awry and Parramatta cannot salvage this match from here.
71 min: PENALTY against Hindmarsh for not being square at marker, here's an opportunity for the Cowboys to post their first second half points.
73 min: TRY
TRY to the Cowboys
Flimsy defence from Parramatta and Kane Linnett gets his name on the scoreboard. Soon after Parramatta lost hope of salvaging ther match, they lost hope of avoiding embarrassment also. Conversion attempt from Thurston unsuccessful.
North Queensland Cowboys 30-6
78 min: TRY Northern Storm
TRY to the Cowboys
Some smart ball movement from the Cowboys and James Segeyaro puts in a very clever kick to help Graham to score his third in the right corner. Thurston nails his most difficult conversion attempt of the night.
North Queensland Cowboys 36-6
80 min: Just as we thought it couldn't get worse for the Eels, Cowboys get six again 20 metres out from the Eels line in the final minute.
80 min: TRY
TRY to the Cowboys
Probably a forward pass in there but Gavin Cooper is awarded a try and this will be an 8 tries to 1 victory. Thurston adds the extras and it continues to get worse for the Eels.
North Queensland Cowboys 42-6
80 min: And the North Queensland Cowboys have a massive victory over the Parramatta Eels, taking the game 42 points to 6.