GRAND FINAL DAY LOCKED IN | Three big fixtures next Sunday at Sydney's ANZ Stadium! Burleigh and Ill...
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In a somewhat dour affair, the Cowboys lifted to outplay the usually enthusiastic Knights outfit in what has turned out to be a rather large touch-up for the visiting side.
The game began at a fast pace with both teams willing to take chances and push passes with very little actually coming off. Robbie O?Davis, captaining the team in the absence of regular skipper Danny Buderus, charged over for the first try after only five minutes.
But that was it for the Knights, who failed to register another points all night.
From there the Cowboys composed themselves and scored in the 18th minute through clever halfback Chris Sheppard. Another try to Neil Sweeney off a Sheppard cross-field kick just before halftime had warning bells sounding for the Knights. With the referee blowing up penalties left, right and centre the Newcastle club found itself a man short when Matt Kennedy was sin-binned in the 36th minute.
At half time, the Cowboys held a handy 12-6 lead.
The second half was a walk-over for the home team, showing up some shabby defence and poor attacking options from the Knights. The Cowboys took full advantage and capatilised on errors and bad play.
A somewhat controversial try was awarded to in-form prop Paul Rauhihi in the 52nd minute and from there it was a bit of a walk-over for the Cowboys who scored another three tries through forwards Scott Tronc and Leigh McWilliams.
A solid win for the home side and it?s back to the drawing board for Knights coach Michael Hagan.
COWBOYS 30 Tries: Sheppard, Sweeney, Rauhihi, Tronc, McWilliams Goals: Hannay 5/7 defeated KNIGHTS 6 Tries: O'Davis Goals: Gidley 1/1
Dairy Farmers Stadium Referee: Steve Lyons Video Referee: Mick Stone Touch Judges: David Abood, Jeff Younis
By the clock:
Kick-off! And the Cowboys get us underway in Far North Queensland through Josh Hannay.
5min: TRY - Knights. Captain Robbie O'Davis cuts through the middle of the ruck from a Gidley fake and scores next to the posts. Gidley converts and the score is 6-0 to the Knights.
15 min: NEWS: Some end to end action but scrappy play when it counts. Kevin Campion has a large cut over the left eye. Score still 6-0 in favour of Newcastle.
18 min: TRY - Cowboys. Chris Sheppard scores for the home side, after sighting a gap in the Knights defence from close range. Hannay converts and levels the score at 6-apiece.
28 min: PENALTY GOAL - Cowboys. Hannay boots one through the sticks after an indiscretion in the play-the-ball area from Newcastle. The Cowboys lead 8-6.
36 min: NEWS - Matt Kennedy given ten minutes in the sin-bin for holding down in the play the ball.
40 min: TRY - Cowboys. Neil Sweeney jumps high to grab the ball after a cross-field kick from Sheppard. Hannay narrowly misses the conversion from the sideline. Cowboys lead 12-6.
Cowboys looked to be getting on top in the latter stages of the first half. Tough contest but both teams will need to lift in the second session if they want to stay in the game.
Kick-off! And we're underway in the second half.
46 min: NEWS - Matt Kennedy back on the field for the visitors. Fast paced second half so far.
52 min: TRY - Cowboys. Very peculiar 4-pointer here. Paul Rauhihi comes across to shut down a tackle and he comes up with the ball in a one-on-one steal, then sprints 30 metres to score a runaway try. Make sure you see that one on a sports wrap! Hannay converts. Cowboys 18 Knights 6.
60 min: Forward Kevin Campion is once again cut open on the head. Claret pouring out everywhere.
61 min: TRY - Cowboys. Replacement forward Shane Tronc bags his first try in the big league after a Sheppard grubber hits the post, rebounds and is pounced upon by Tronc. Hannay converts an easy one and takes the lead to 24-6. Cowboys look to have this one wrapped up with under 20 minutes remaining on the clock.
70 min: TRY - Cowboys. Leigh McWilliams bursts over from short range to put the game beyond doubt. Nth Qld dominating everything at the moment and Newcastle making silly mistakes. Hannay boots another one and takes the score to 30-6.
74 min: NEWS - Adam Woolnough and Andrew Price on report for a high tackle. Hannay misses the penalty goal. Score remains 30-6 in favour of the home team.
76 min: NEWS - Hannay misses an attempted field goal. Scores remain Cowboys 30 Knights 6.
The North Queensland Cowboys have recorded their second home win at home this year and their second in a row after their victory over the Dragons last week. Newcastle slump to a poor loss and failed to show the enthusiasm of recent weeks following injuries and rep selection of several key players.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - C Sheppard (Cowboys) 2 - P Rauhihi (Cowboys) 1 - J Hannay (Cowboys) -----------------------------------------