ICYMI, on Thursday the @NRL - National Rugby League released the 2018 #NRLDraw.
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A small but vocal Ericsson crowd were treated to 'heart in your mouth' football as the Cowboys were victors over the Warriors two minutes into extra time with Joel Hannay kicking a penalty goal right in front of the sticks to win the game for his side by 28-26.
The game was a hard torrid affair, sometimes messy in the slippery but fine conditions, however sometimes brilliant as both sides looked for dominance in the match.
In what turned out to be a see-sawing match both sides were guilty of ill discipline at times, with the NZ Warriors losing skipper Monty Beetham for 10 minutes in the second half.
The Cowboys had the narrow lead of 14-10 at the break but the urgency missing in the Warriors players last week was back at their home ground, and the result of 26 all after 80 minutes was a fair indication of how even the match had been.
With the strong wind at their backs, the Warriors had possession from the kick-off in extra time only to make an error, followed by a penalty right in front of the Cowboys posts handing the game to the Cowboys on a platter. The Ericsson faithful let the game officials know their feeling as they left the field.
Paul Rauhihi, Kevin Campion and Shane Tronc with his time on the field, were outstanding for the Cowboys with David Myles winding the Warriors up as well. Youngster Louie Anderson, and Clinton Toopi played out of their skins for their side which couldn't quite collect the goods on the day.
The Cowboys now have won three games in a row as they face up against the Bulldogs next week. The Warriors hold their place at the bottom of the table on equal points with the Sea Eagles.
Scorers: WARRIORS 26 Tries: Toopi 2, Tuimavave, V Anderson, Fa'afili, Villasanti Goals: Hohaia 0/3, Webb 1/3 defeated by COWBOYS 28 Tries: Sing 2, Myles, Sweeney Goals: Hannay 6/9
By the clock: A small crowd in Auckland with windy and showery conditions for the game today. Bowman (Cowboys) out with a shoulder injury, Jensen brought into the starting line-up. Shannon Stowers makes his debut for the Warriors off the bench
0 min: Kick off!
3rd min: NEWS - Solid start to the game for both sides with sunshine beaming through at this stage
5th min: NO GOAL - Hannay from 30 metres out makes misses the kick after Beetham (Warriors) penalised for lying in the tackle. Score 0-0
10th min: NEWS - Both sides having their chances but the defence is holding
13th min: Completion rates; Warriors 75%, Cowboys 57%. Possession; Warriors 59%, Cowboys 41%
15th min: NEWS - The Warriors making good use of the strong wind at their backs. On attack the ref calls them up for obstruction. Jamie McDonald (Cowboys) off with a fractured lower arm
17th min: TRY - Sing for Warriors. From one end of the field to the other, the Cowboys score. Last tackle and Sing wrong foots Vatuvei who score. Hannay from near in front, converts. Cowboys 6-0
21st min: TRY - The Warriors using the ball but the Cowboys defence making them work for the possession. Toopi just back from a knee injury scores through a hole in the defence out wide. Hohaia misses the conversion. Cowboys 6-4
25th min: NEWS - The Warriors unlucky to get a penalty from the kick off with Toopi catches the ball protesting that his foot is on the line.
26th min: TRY - Myles for Cowboys. From the resulting scrum the Cowboys shift the ball quickly. Sheppard puts up the high ball which hangs in the wind, and Myles picks up the scraps to score. Hannay curves the ball well in the wind, but misses the conversion. Cowboys 10-4
28th min: TRY - Tuimavave for Warriors. Possession from the kick off comes back to the Warriors. A solid set and Tuimavave is unstoppable close to the line. Webb converts. 10 all
33rd min: NEWS - Great defence by the Cowboys as the Warriors launch the attack. The resulting set ends with a line dropout for the Cowboys
35th min: TRY - Sweeney for Cowboys. The ball is shifted wide from the dropout and Sweeney sprints up the sideline, steam rolls Webb to score. Hannay from the sideline misses the conversion. Cowboys 14-10
HALFTIME: The Cowboys finishing strong in the first half and will appreciate the wind at their backs in the second. 14-10 in their favour
Possession; Warriors 43% - Cowboys 57% Completions; Warriors 72% - Cowboys 60% Penalties; Warriors 3 - Cowboys 4 Offloads; Warriors 7 - Cowboys 6 Errors; Warriors 4 - Cowboys 6 Tackles; Warriors 125 - Cowboys 124 Missed tackles; Warriors 8 - Cowboys 8 Line breaks; Warriors 2 - Cowboys 1
Second half underway...
41st min: NEWS - Paleaasina (Warriors) out of the game with concussion
43rd min: TRY - V Anderson for Warriors. A scrum feed to the Warriors on their 10 metre line helps set up play for the Warriors close to the line and Anderson ducks under the defenders. The video ref sends it back to the ref who gives the 4 points. Webb 10 metres in from touch kicks a shocking conversion. 14 all
48th min: TRY - Fa'afili for Warriors. The Warriors making metres manage to spin the ball out wide. A hint of a forward pass out to Fa'afili who bursts to the line taking the Cowboys defenders with him. Webb from out wide misses the conversion. Warriors 18-14
54th min: NEWS - The Cowboys close to scoring but the Warriors defence holds true. A bit of pushing and heckling results in a penalty to the Cowboys.
55th min: NEWS - Beetham (Warriors) sent to the bin, the ref has had enough, a soft penalty out in front
57th min: PENALTY GOAL - Hannay kicks the easy goal. Warriors 18-16
58th min: NEWS - Webb (Cowboys) penalised for a high shot on Myles. A bit of feeling creeping into the game, the crowd voicing their displeasure
59th min: PENALTY GOAL - Webb (Warriors) once again penalised at the tackle and lucky not to be sent from the field after 3 warnings. Hannay makes no mistake from out in front. 18 all
61st min: PENALTY GOAL - Koopu (Warriors) penalised for taking Sheppard out after a little chip over the line was put in. Koopu leaving the field looking worse for wear. Hannay makes no mistake 20 metres out, right in front. Cowboys 20-18
68th min: NEWS - Play going from side to side, still a lot of feeling out there, the game could go either way
70th min: TRY - Villasanti for Warriors. A break by Jones, followed by another by Fa'afili in the next set of six, sets up field position for the Warriors close to the line. A chip through by Webb for Villasanti just catches Villa in time for the try. Hohaia hooks the conversion. Warriors 22-20
71st min: NEWS - Hannay (Cowboys) penalised for a high shot 20 metres out from the Warriors line
73rd min; TRY - Toopi for Warriors. Resulting from the penalty, the Warriors spin it wide. Webby puts in a kick for the corner which Toopi puts down over the line. Jones misses the conversion from out wide. Warriors 26-20
76th min: TRY - Sing for Cowboys. Rauhihi offloads to Jensen who takes off 50 metres up the field. Quick plays with Rauhihi once again involved and Sing is over in the corner. Hannay from the sideline, just gets the ball over the crossbar. 26 all
79th min: NEWS - With the strong wind behind him, Hannay (Cowboys) launches a drop goal attempt but it falls short
GOLDEN POINT TIME - Coin toss goes to the Warriors who will have the wind behind them
81st min: NEWS - Knock on against the Warriors 25 metres out from the Cowboys line
82nd min: PENALTY GOAL - Hannay makes no mistake after Beetham is penalised for a high shot on Rauhihi. 15 metres out, right in front and the game is over. Cowboys win 28-26
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - P Rauhihi (Cowboys) 2 - K Campion (Cowboys) 1 - C Toopi (Warriors) -----------------------------------------