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North Queensland Cowboys 32 v Wests Tigers 12
at Dairy Farmers Stadium
Referees: Steve Clark
The Cowboys have comfortably won the Grand Final rematch 32-12 over the Wests Tigers in Townsville. The Cowboys led 22-2 at half time and choked the Tigers out of the match with oppressive defence, however the result may be overshadowed by a shoulder injury to Tigers and Kiwis star Benji Marshall.
The Tigers got on the board early with a fifth minute penalty goal to Brett Hodgson, before the Cowboys took control. A Thurston penalty goal in the 19th minute opened the floodgates. Rod Jensen scored in the 26th minute from dummy half, then four minutes late Thurston scored a superb solo try for a 14-2 lead. Whatuira was sin binned for a professional foul and Thurston added another two points. Matt Sing then caught a spectacular bomb from Thurston for the 22-2 half time lead.
The Tigers took control over the second half, with a try to Benji Marshall in the 46th minute and Isaac De Gois scored in the 60th minute to trail 22-12. The Tigers could have overrun the Cowboys in that 20 minute period, but for all their possession and territory could only score the two tries. Two late tries to Cooper and Jensen restored the Cowboys half time margin of 20 points, and a deserved winning margin. The Cowboys will continue to lead the competition all alone, and are on a club record five match winning streak ? all against 2005 Top 8 teams.
Perhaps a bigger story is the injury to Benji Marshall, who injured his shoulder trying to tackle Carl Webb in the 79th minute. After the match the television cameras showed Marshall sobbing in the dressing room. This injury could be fatal to the Tigers Premiership chances, and certainly could not help the Kiwis in the ANZAC Test, or even the Tri-Nations, depending on how long he is out.
North Queensland Cowboys: 32
Tries: Rod Jensen(2), Matt Sing, Johnathan Thurston, Gavin Cooper
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 6/7
Wests Tigers: 12
Tries: Benji Marshall, Isaac De Gois
Goals: Brett Hodgson 2/3
By the Clock:
1 min: NEWS The Cowboys kick off this Grand Final rematch!
5 min: PENALTY GOAL Wests Tigers
After a penalty from a high tackle, Hodgson converts the easy two points.
12 min: NEWS Scott Prince is penalised for a swinging arm and the Cowboys will get three repeat sets on the Tigers goal line.
13 min: NEWS Video referee for a Cowboys try...
13 min: NEWS NO TRY - The ball runs dead off a Cowboys kick early in the tackle count. The Tigers hold on.
14 min: NEWS The Tigers go 80 metres and enforce a repeat set.
19 min: NEWS ON REPORT - Benji Marshall is put on report for a high tackle.
19 min: PENALTY GOAL North Queensland Cowboys
Thurston kicks the penalty goal for the high tackle penalty on Marshall.
22 min: NEWS Video referee for a Tigers try...
22 min: NEWS NO TRY - Shane Elford is ruled to have knocked on in the in goal.
26 min: NEWS Video referee for a Cowboys try...
26 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Jensen pushes over from dummy half. Thurston converts off the posts.
30 min: NEWS Video referee (again) for a Cowboys try...
30 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Thurston runs out of dummy half, kicks for himself and dives on the ball in the in goal. He converts his own try.
32 min: NEWS Matt Bowen saves a try with a spectacular take from a Prince grubber kick.
36 min: NEWS SIN BIN - Paul Whatuira is sent to the sin bin for a professional foul, tackling a player without the ball.
37 min: PENALTY GOAL North Queensland Cowboys
Thurston kicks the goal for the professional foul.
38 min: NEWS 40/20 - Bowen kicks a 40/20
39 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Thurston puts up a kick to Sing who steams onto the ball and scores. Thurston converts.
40 min: NEWS HALF TIME - The Cowboys have dominated the last 30 minutes of the first half and fully deserve their 20 point lead.
Stats - Cowboys have 61% possession, 16/23 completions compared to the Tigers 9/15, Tigers have made and missed nearly double the number of tackles to that of the Cowboys, penalty count is 8-5 to the Cowboys and error count is 8-5 against the Tigers.
40 min: NEWS Second half underway!
43 min: NEWS A couple of mistakes from the Cowboys to open the second half, and the Tigers are dominating posession, but they just can't score.
45 min: NEWS The Cowboys have been penalised twice in this half alone for not playing the ball straight.
46 min: TRY Wests Tigers
Marshall runs around Hannay from 10 metres out and scores. Hodgson misses the conversion.
56 min: NEWS Tigers dominating posession and territory in this half, but they can't score.
57 min: NEWS Tigers gain another line drop out, amazing Cowboys defence. Line dropouts 6-0 Tigers.
60 min: TRY Wests Tigers
De Gois dives over from dummy half after a tonne of Tigers posession, Hodgson converts.
68 min: NEWS Whatuira is penalised for a high tackle on Bowen.
69 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Cooper is put into space 10 metres out and scores. Thurston hits the posts and the crossbar and the ball bounces out.
72 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Thurston breaks up the middle on half way, offloads to Southern who passes to Jensen who scores. Thurston converts.
76 min: NEWS Video referee for a Tigers try...
76 min: NEWS NO TRY - Whatuira is ruled to have bounced the ball in the in goal.
79 min: NEWS Marshall going up the tunnel with a shoulder injury.
80 min: NEWS The Cowboys run out comfortable winners over the Tigers, 32-12. The Cowboys have now beaten four Top Eight teams, and the Premiers. They are now on a club record five match win streak.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
2 - Matthew Bowen (Cowboys)
1 - Shane Tronc (Cowboys)