Our weekly feature - The Armchair Expert - returns just in time for the finals!
This week we look a...
26 mins ago
The return of Matt Bowen has helped the North Queensland Cowboys upset a sloppy Sydney Roosters outfit 32-14 at the SFS on Monday night.
The inclusion of Bowen, who was playing his first NRL match in over eight months after a serious knee injury, seemed to give the Cowboys an increased sense of confidence and composure in their first win away from home in 2010.
The match will be also be remembered for a mountain of Roosters' errors and a number of controversial refereeing decisions.
It was the Cowboys came out of the blocks firing, scoring two tries in the opening 15 minutes. First it was winger Michael Bani who snuck over out wide, before the mercurial Matt Bowen pounced on a Roosters error to run 80 metres untouched.
Sydney hit back when Nick Kouparitsas capitalised on a Bani error. Teammate Todd Carney then raced away for a long range try to reduce the deficit to 12-10.
North Queensland flanker John Williams touched down for a dubious four-pointer - it looked as though a Cowboys' hand had knocked the ball on - to stretch his team's lead to 18-10 at the break.
The Roosters scored the first try of the second half to speedster Phil Graham in the 51st minute, but from that point on it was all North Queensland.
The boys from Townsville ran in three unanswered tries, as the Roosters fell to pieces with mistake upon mistake.
It was the Cowboys' first win in five games.
Sydney Roosters 14 were defeated by North Queensland Cowboys 32
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 9 - Monday May 10, 2010 7:00pm
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium
Referee: Jason Robinson and Ashley Klein
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Luke Potter and Gerard Sutton
Crowd: 6, 478
Halftime: Sydney Roosters 10 North Queensland Cowboys 18
Sydney Roosters (14)
Tries: Todd Carney, Phil Graham, Nick Kouparitsas
Conversions: Todd Carney (1/3)
North Queensland Cowboys (32)
Tries: Matt Bowen, John Williams, Anthony Watts, Michael Bani (2), Willie Tonga
Conversions: Ashley Graham (1/1), John Williams (3/5)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening and welcome to tonight's coverage of the clash between the Sydney Roosters and North Queensland Cowboys from SFS in Sydney. Rumour has it Matt Bowen is set to make his long awaited return from injury.
Plenty of changes for both sides..
Roosters: Paea and Kouparitsas start, Waerea-Hargreaves and Nuuausala move back to the bench. Jake Friend returns to the NRL in jersey 18.
Cowboys: Matt Bowen returns from a knee injury at fullback at the expense of Gallant. Kaufusi and Leeson Ah Mau start, and Tamou shifts to the interchange.
For all the team changes click the 'Team Lists' tab.
Bowen hasn't played for over eight months, looking forward to seeing how he goes.
1 min: Kick off! Roosters receive the ball.
2 min: Aaron Payne finds touch, both teams completing their first set without too much fuss.
4 min: Roosters with the scrum feed on the Cowboys 20m line after a knock on from Michael Bani.
6 min: Sydney spread it wide, Jones gets tackled near the touchline and passes forward.
7 min: TRY
Well that came from nowhere. Scott Bolton takes the ball to the line down the blindside, throws a pass to Bani, who breaks through some ordinary tackles to score in the corner. Williams converts.
North Queensland Cowboys 6-0
13 min: Sorry folks, a few technical difficulties there. Back in order now!
14 min: TRY
Bowen's back! The Roosters spill the ball on the attack, Bowen picks up the scraps and races 80 metres to score untouched. It's like he never left. Williams converts from in front.
North Queensland Cowboys 12-0
17 min: Video referee - possible Roosters try..
17 min: TRY
Sydney bomb to the wing, Bani makes a meal of the catch, dropping it forward. Kenny-Dowall comes up with possession and flings the pass back on the inside for Kouparitsas, who simply dives over. Carney converts.
North Queensland Cowboys 12-6
20 min: Cowboys defence starting to look a little feeble, with the Roosters making easy metres off the kick off.
22 min: Mason surges forward, bringing a chorus of boos from the crowd.
23 min: Todd Carney makes half a break but the Roosters come up with an error on the next play.
24 min: Grant Rovelli puts in a surprisingly good grubber and forces a goal line dropout.
26 min: TRY
Another length of the field try against the run of play. A Cowboys pass hits the deck and Carney shows enough pace to beat Bowen and touch down out wide. Carney misses the kick.
North Queensland Cowboys 12-10
28 min: Cowboys substitute Anthony Watts goes in for a low tackle and is down for the count - couldn't happen to a nicer bloke..
30 min: Roosters string some offloads together and bomb high on the fifth - Bowen takes it easily.
33 min: Forward pass from Cowboys' debutant Michael Morgan.
34 min: Video referee - possible Cowboys try.. checking to see whether the Cowboys knocked on or the Roosters forced it out.
34 min: TRY
Anthony Watts made the break and was tackled from behind from Ben Jones who knocked the ball out. Phil Graham dives on the ball and is ruled to have knocked on, John Williams picks it up and scores. However, it looked like a Cowboys hand hit the ball out of Graham's grasp. That was a mouthful.
North Queensland Cowboys 18-10
37 min: John Willams has the chance to grab a double but can't hang on to Bowen's cut out pass.
39 min: Matt Scott knocks on with North Queensland on the attack - as you can probably tell, it's a pretty scrappy game at the moment.
Halftime: It's been a frantic first half with 13 errors in total. The Cowboys most recent try was dubious to say the least but they're doing well to be leading by eight.
41 min: Crazy start to the second half. Braith Anasta's kick off hits the crossbar but Nuuausala fumbles.
43 min: Michael Bani makes a break down the flank but passes to a Roosters player on the inside.
44 min: Bani fields a bomb, makes half a break before throwing a very risky ball to Williams. Bani is in everything tonight - both good and bad.
46 min: Bani's in the action again, this time he gets smashed by Waerea-Hargreaves.
48 min: Anthony Watts does well to field a ball in the ingoal but he can't get out. Cowboys drop out.
49 min: Roosters get six again after a North Queensland hand hits the ball over the sideline.
51 min: Video referee - possible Roosters try..
51 min: TRY
Phil Graham hits a hole on the edge of the ruck off a nice pass from Braith Anasta, the ball hit the hands of a Cowboys player on it's way to Graham. Carney misses the conversion.
North Queensland Cowboys 18-14
54 min: Just having a look around the stadium tonight and honestly, the crowd will struggle to reach 5,000.
55 min: The Cowboys knock on but Sydney return the favour with an error from Anthony Minichiello off the scrum.
56 min: TRY
Willie Tonga strides through out wide and finds Bani in support. The Roosters appeal for a forward pass and after checking out the replays, it looks like they were right. Williams converts.
North Queensland Cowboys 24-14
60 min: Kenny-Dowall makes a break but is run down, hits the turf and then for some reason throws a pass off the ground and is penalised.
62 min: Matt Bowen makes a stunning catch to field a bomb.
64 min: Nate Myles is bent back in an awkward tackle, he looked to be in some serious bother but is back to his feet now.
65 min: Some tough Cowboys defence forces an error.
67 min: The Roosters make another mistake, giving the Cowboys the scrum feed 20 metres out from their own line.
69 min: Carney chips over the top for Minichiello but Matt Bowen attacks the ball at speed and gets there first.
71 min: Video referee - possible Cowboys try..
71 min: TRY
Some decoy runners suck in the defence before the debutant Morgan fires the pass to Willie Tonga, who strolls over. Williams misses from out wide.
North Queensland Cowboys 28-14
73 min: Sydney go for the short kick off and get possession.
74 min: Roosters force a drop out and are on the attack again.
76 min: Bani cuts through the defence but it dragged down by Minichiello in cover.
77 min: TRY
North Queensland spread it wide, Watts finds himself one on one with Carney and he has too much strength for the Roosters' halfback. Williams misses.
North Queensland Cowboys 32-14
79 min: Matt Scott puts Bolton in a gap and the Cowboys have a chance to finish with another try.
80 min: Fulltime: Cowboys the unlikely winners here, they were the better team though. Sydney made too many errors and the visitor's defence held tough when it counted.