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An inspirational performance by Jarrod Mullen and a lot of possession helped the Knights dominate the Cowboys in all departments on a warm night in Townsville. Neither the humidity nor the absence of the Newcastle captain seemed to bother the Knights as showed they were a force to be reckoned with this season.
Newcastle drew first blood in the 7th minute after a brilliant kick from Jarrod Mullen was batted back by Akilla Uate into the arms of Wes Naiqama. The Knights continued to dominate the possession and despite a beautiful 40/20 from Mullen in the 9th minute the Knight didn't score again for another 20 minutes.
Strong defence and some repeat sets helped the Knights go in again in the 31st minute with Akila Uate scoring to put the Knights up 16-0. However a try in the dying moments of the half kept the Cowboys in the match at half time.
Ben Jones snuck through the defence to give a more respectable 16-6 scoreline going into half time.
Knights started the second half with an error sending the kick off out on the fly. But it did not take long for them to further their lead, with Richard Fa'aoso crossing the in the 45th minute. Beau Henry scored in the 51st minute with Knights domination the Cowboys in Townsville.
Naiqama was having a pretty strong night with the boot to help the Newcastle scoreline reflect the on field domination, McManus scored in the 61st minute to give the Knights a lead of 34 to 6 going into the final quarter of the game.
Despite the domination, Cows were able to find the whitewash in the 69th minute with a try to Leeson Ah Mau. Cowboys crossed twice more in the final passages of the game, with two tries to Ashley Graham in the 74th and 80th minutes. Thurston finished with 3 from 4 from the boot.
The final 12 point difference did not reflect the domination of the Knights, it did however reflect the scoring with Knights emerging victorious 34 points to 22. A victory which leaves the Knights in the number 1 position on the ladder with 3 more games to be played this round.
North Queensland Cowboys 22 were defeated by Newcastle Knights 34
National Rugby League - Round 2 - Saturday March 19, 2011 9:30pm
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Referee: Jared Maxwell and Phil Haines
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Jason Walsh and Michael Wise
Halftime: North Queensland Cowboys 6 Newcastle Knights 16
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Jarrod Mullen
2 Points - Daniel Tolar
1 Point - Beau Henry (1 Try)
North Queensland Cowboys (22)
Tries: Ashley Graham (2), Ben Jones, Leeson Ah Mau
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (3/4)
Newcastle Knights (34)
Tries: Wes Naiqama, James McManus, Richard Fa'aoso, Cory Paterson, Akuila Uate, Beau Henry
Conversions: Wes Naiqama (5/6)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening folks, it's a it's a warm evening in Townsville tonight with a temperature of 27 degrees with light wind blowing from the north. The Cowboys will be kicking off and running into the wind. There has been one late change to the Cowboys line up Ashton Sims will be coming into the starting line up with James Tamou shifting to the bench.
With both teams having a strong start to their season last round it should be an exciting match in Townsville tonight.
1 min: A poor kick from Matt Hilder to finish Newcastle's first set after some good Running by the Knights and strong defense by the Cowboys
3 min: A promising set from the Knights ends with a forward pass from Wes Naquiama after some promising plays.
6 min: A good kick by the Knights traps Ashley Graham in Goal and gives Newcastle another shot at the Cowboys' line.
6 min: A beautifully weighted kick by Jarrod Mullen is knocked back by Uate to Naiqama and the ref is going upstairs.
7 min: TRY
TRY! Video Referee gives Knights the green light and the conversion by Naiqama is successful.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
9 min: 40/20 Mullen finds touch 8 meters out from the Cowboys line.
10 min: A poor last tackle option and strong defense from the Cowboys to keep the Knights out.
11 min: Knights are penalised for being inside the 10 and Cowboys are awarded a further 10 metres after some lip from the Knights. Let's see what the Cowboys can do here.
13 min: Possible try to the Cowboys.
14 min: Michael Bani is denied a try after stepping outside the line. Good defense by the Knights to keep him out.
16 min: Naiqama knocks on to give the Cowboys the ball 10 meters out from the Knights line.
17 min: Gavin Cooper is not looking good after Zeb Taia hits him high.
18 min: Knights keep the Cowboys out after Thurston knocks on after receiving a bad pass.
26 min: TRY
TRY to the Knights after Cory Paterson breaks through some flimsy Cowboys defense and scores next to the posts. Conversion from Naiqama successful.
Newcastle Knights 12-0
28 min: Another 40/20 from Mullen. Looks like the position of NSW halfback is going to be hotly contested.
29 min: Mullen dummies and offloads to Houston who narrowly misses the tryline.
30 min: Replays suggest that Knights were unlucky to be denied there. Newcastle are dominating the possession and the game.
33 min: TRY
TRY! Bani went missing and the Knights are over again after a good kick from Henry. Conversion from Naiqama successful.
Newcastle Knights 18-0
37 min: Back to back sets in Knights' territory for the Cowboys, let's see if they can make something of it.
39 min: TRY
Ben Jones sneaks through after repeat sets to the Cowboys. And Jonathan Thurston makes no mistake with the boot.
Newcastle Knights 16-6
40 min: Newcastle have dominated all facets of the game tonight on the back of Jarrod Mullen’s perfect kicking game. Two 40/20s and some pin point kicks close to the Cowboys line have helped the Knights lead the Cowboys 16-6 at half time. However, a late try to the Cowboys could help the North Queensland team start the second half with some confidence.
41 min: Newcastle's kick off is out on the full.
42 min: Great defense by the Knights keep the Cowboys out.
45 min: TRY
TRY! Fa'aoso scores for the Knights after Cowboys turn over the ball. Conversion from Naiqama successful.
Newcastle Knights 22-6
46 min: Thurston's kick off is out on the full. Knights will have a penalty from halfway.
50 min: Another possible Knights try. Maxwell goes up stairs again.
51 min: TRY
Video Referee awards the try. Some brilliant footwork from Henry and the Knights five-eighth goes over. Conversion from Naiqama successful.
Newcastle Knights 28-6
58 min: Cowboys keep coughing up opportunities and once again the Knights have possession in the Cowboys' half.
61 min: TRY
TRY! McManus goes to the line and scoots over to score. Conversion from Naiqama successful.
Newcastle Knights 34-6
65 min: James Tamou knocks on. The Cowboys are not doing themselves any favors.
69 min: TRY
Some more brilliant defense from the Knights was not enough to keep Leeson Ah Mau out and he scores next to the posts and Thurston nails the easy conversion.
Newcastle Knights 34-12
74 min: TRY Northern Storm
Some good play by the Cowboys and Ashley Graham scores a nice team try. Conversion by Thurston is successful. Mullen is off and has walked up the tunnel.
Newcastle Knights 34-18
77 min: Knights appear to be losing their way a little at the moments as the Cowboys are starting to show some promise. Mullen has suffered a bruised sternum.
80 min: TRY Northern Storm
Another try to Ashley Graham after a nice break by Matty Bowen followed with some fancy footwork. Conversion by Thurston is unsuccessful.
Newcastle Knights 34-22
Fulltime at Townsville tonight the final score was 34-22 to the Knights. The score is a little flattering for the Cowboys after they went missing for most of the game and were lucky to score a few consecutive tries in the dying minutes.