Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
9 hours ago
The North Queensland Cowboys have narrowly defeated the New Zealand Warriors 16-8 in an error riddled snore-fest at a hot and humid Dairy Farmers Stadium tonight. Stacey Jones ran onto the field before the match as the first Warriors player to reach 200 appearances and that unfortunately was the only high point of the match.
The Warriors dropped endless amount of ball and butchered plenty of try scoring opportunities - the Cowboys (thankfully for the Warriors sake) were not much better. The first half was a tight affair with only a penalty goal from each side to appease the crowd, and at half time it was 2-all.
Nothing much changed in the second half as the Warriors dropped yet more ball but this time the Cowboys capitalised to score the first try of the match through some slick passing to find Ty Williams at the end of it.
Following a couple of errors, a Paul Dezolt pass to an unmarked Vinnie Anderson to put the Warriors in front.
The Cowboys had more fire in the belly dominating the final 10 minutes and making in-roads through a tiring Warriors pack. Nathan Fien ran out of dummy half to score underneath the sticks then Ty Williams profited from a Brent Webb error to seal the game.
The game was ugly in every sense of the word and the Warriors need a big long look in the mirror to find their form of old. In particular, the holding onto the ball which to most observers, is the whole point of the game.
COWBOYS 16 Tries: Williams 2,Fien Goals: Hannay 2/4 defeated WARRIORS 8 Tries: Anderson Goals: Faumuina 2/2
By the clock: Both sides are as per program on a warm night at Townsville. Stacey Jones becomes the first Warrior to make 200 first grade appearances for the Auckland club.
0 min: Warriors kick off.
4 min: News - Cowboys put in a great set of six. They force the Warriors inside there own goal-line.
7 min: News - Clinton Toopi spills the ball 20 metres out from his own goal line.The Warriors are penalised from the scrum the next play.
9 min: News - Cowboys spread the ball to the left of the field,A wayward pass goes out letting the Warriors off the hook.
10 min: News - Warriors let a golden try-scoring opportunity slip after Epalahame Lauaki drops the ball.
12 min: PENALTY GOAL - Warriors. Jamie McDonald doesnt play the ball correctly with his feet and is penalised 20 metres out. Sione Faumuina slots the goal. 2-0 Warrriors.
16 min: News - Both sides handling is poor dropping plenty of ball.
18 min: PENALTY GOAL - Cowboys. The Warriors are penalised 25 metres out from the sticks. Josh Hannay slots the goal. 2 all
22 min: News - The Warriors breathe a sigh of relief after a costly error by the Cowboys let them off the hook.
25 min: News - Francis Meli grabs a Nathan Fien bomb. Cowboys get another set of six.
28 min: News - Tony Martin makes a 75 metre break. He throws a marginally forward pass to Clinton Toopi.
29 min: News - Warriors once again comes inches to scoring. Sione Faumuina drops the ball cold near the line.
32 min: News - 5 metres from the line Lance Hohia puts in a grubber,It rolls over the dead ball line.
35 min: News - After a Warriors error the Cowboys throw the ball around. They eventually make an error 10 metres from the tryline.
Halftime: An ugly first half of football comes to end. There was plenty of errors by both sides with numerous try scoring opportunities being blundered in good territory. New Zealand Warriors 2, North Queensland Cowboys 2. Halftime stats: Penalties: 3-2 Cowboys Errors: 14-11 Warriors Mis-Tackles: 6-4 Warriors Completions: Cowboys 14/25 (56%),Warriors 9/22 (40%) Possession: Cowboys 51%,Warriors 49%
40 min: Cowboys kick off the second half.
43 min: News - Warriors knock the ball on 20 metres out from the Cowboys line caused by pressure from North Queenslands defence.
46 min: News - Warriors drop ball in good territory again only coming inches from scoring a try.
52 min: TRY - Cowboys: Good backline from the Cowboys passing the ball wide to find Ty Williams to score in the corner. Josh Hannay conversion goes to the left. 6-2 Cowboys
55 min: News - Francis Meli grabs a Nathan Fien bomb then comes inches from putting his foot over the touchline before being tackled.
57 min: News - Warriors get another set of six after forcing Matt Bowen inside his own goaline.
59 min: News - After the Warriors butcher a try scoring opportunity the Cowboys are relieved of the pressure following a penalty.
61 min: News - Warriors get a penalty 10 metres out from the line. Wairangi Koopu drops the ball backwards David Myles then trys to run off for a try but his hands let him down.
64 min: TRY - Warriors. Following a penalty, Paul Dezolt throws a pass to find an unmarked Vinnie Anderson to score. Faumuina converts. 8-6 Warriors
67 min: News - A good kick and chase give the Cowboys another set of six.
68 min: News - Nathan Fien puts up a kick,Francis Meli grabs it but knocked it on.
70 min: TRY - Cowboys. Nathan Fien darts out of dummy half to score. Hannay converts. 12-8 Cowboys
72 min: News - Paul Dezolt comes inches from kicking a 40/20 after Matt Bowen battered the ball back in play.
75 min: TRY - Cowboys. Brent Webb spills the ball. It falls into a Cowboys players hands who then passes it to an unmarked Ty Williams to score out wide. Hannay's conversion goes wide. 16-8 Cowboys
78 min: News - Nathan Fien puts up another kick. This time it's deflected by a Cowboys player before Awen Guttenbeil catches the ball.
Fulltime: It's fitting a handling error by a Warriors player ended this game. A terrible game to watch and a terrible preformance by both sides. Final result: North Queensland Cowboys 16 defeated New Zealand Warriors 8. Fulltime stats: Penalties: 8-7 Warriors Errors: 25-19 Warriors Mis-Tackles: 19-17 Warriors Completions: Cowboys 30/49 (61%),Warriors 20/44 (45%) Possession: Cowboys 51%,Warriors 49% ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - P Rauhihi (Cowboys) 2 - M Bowen (Cowboys) 1 - N Fien (Cowboys) -----------------------------------------