You don't care if you're running first. This is about next year. What ...
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Coming into tonight - Wests had been the surprise packet of 2014 thus far belittling the pre-season prediction of being in the lower reaches of the table. They were sittting in fifth with a 3-2 record while North Queensland were the reverse sitting, 2-3 desperately looking for some consistency in the form guide.
It was the visitors who were first on the board, albeit a tad later than they expected, Johnathan Thurston missing an early penalty goal. They rectified this when Brent Tate finished off a fortunate effort in the corner.
The 2013 guise of the Wests Tigers were a much more steeled outfit, as they put the flash plays into the locker for the simplistic option of going through the middle. They got reward for this effort just before the halftime siren as Robbie Farah spied the defenders too deep and darted in the space to score. Pat Richards added the conversion for a 6-4 lead at half-time.
Once again after the resumption, Farah was central to the action before he was assisted from the field in the 76th minute. He refiled a grubber into Ashton Sims before it hit the posts and into the waiting hands of Blake Austin, who is gaining a reputation for being the saviour for the Wests Tigers (He scored the match winner twice for the NSW Cup Tigers this season.)
Following the Austin try - the game fell into a static pattern. North Queensland were stacking up chances like a Jenga tower but just like the tower they fell down at the final hurdle. Johnathan Thurston spilling two efforts that were presented to him almost on a plate, the Cowboys just can't get it done on the road.
Pat Richards put the Cowboys out of their misery as who else but Farah drifted left, looking for a runner and found his 2005 premiership winning team-mate to walk it across in the corner for a deserved 16 points to four victory. It also sets up a mouth watering clash with fellow resurgent side, Parramatta next weekend.
Wests Tigers 16 North Queensland Cowboys 4
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium
Halftime Score: Wests Tigers 6 North Queensland Cowboys 4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Robbie Farah
2 points - James Gavet
1 point - Pat Richards
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Welcome to cold Campbelltown Sports Ground for tonight's contest between Wests Tigers and North Queensland. Both teams are coming off victories with North Queensland hoping it will kick-start their season. Wests are looking to build on the victory against last year's runners up Manly Warringah.
There is no changes for either side.
Here come the Cowboys in their white jersey.. followed by the home side in the black, orange and white jersey paying homage to the Wests side of the merger. They take residence in the northern end up Campbelltown Stadium waiting for kick-off.
KICK-OFF! Here we go! Tigers first use..
2: A sign for the rest of the night? Michael Morgan letting the first bomb bounce.
2: They will be piggybacked out of trouble though, the Cowboys as Aaron Woods goes high.
4: Luke Brooks tried to bite to much off with that kick. It went out on the full.
5: PENALTY Cowboyws, hand on the ball. JT opts for two.
6: UNSUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Penalty goal attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.
Thurston steps up and hooks it wide.
8: Rowe with his first challenge under the high ball and despite a juggle, he catches it. Add a PENALTY so Tigers start on their own twenty.
9: PENALTY Tigers - strip from the Cowboys after they coughed it up.
14: PENALTY Cowboys - markers not straight.
16: PENALTY Tigers - Keith Galloway collected high. Gus Gould will be upset.
18: Brent Tate gave a great ball inside to Wright who was trying to position Thurston but it was slightly forward.
29: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Brent Tate. Kick to come.
They have been going to the right side often tonight and it finally worked. Brooks jammed up to try an intercept only knocked it to Thurston who got it to Tate who had enough to slide over in the corner.
30: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.
It is a tough ask, first up for Johnathan and he swings it wide.
36: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Robert Lui makes an unforced error.
A full set coming for the Tigers from an error.
37: PENALTY Tigers - holding down too long.
39: TRY WESTS TIGERS
Scored by Robbie Farah. Kick to come.
It took almost the whole half but the Tigers found the try-line. Farah eyed the defenders being too far apart and darted between them to cross.
40: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION WESTS TIGERS
Conversion attempt by Pat Richards successful.
40: HALF-TIME! Wests hold a narrow 6-4 lead going into the break.
41: We're back for the second half here.. Tigers kick-off!
41: That was quick.. early PENALTY against the home side.
42: SIX MORE for the Cowboys as Thurston is crunched as he kicked. Followed by a PENALTY.
46: VIDEO REFEREE: Blake Austin might have claimed a fortuitous try.
46: TRY WESTS TIGERS
Scored by Blake Austin. Kick to come.
GREEN LIGHTS..TRY! Farah powered a grubber that rebounded off Sims, the post and into the hands of Austin for the points.
46: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION WESTS TIGERS
Conversion attempt by Pat Richards successful.
Richards puts this one over as well.
48: Some luck there for North Queensland.. Liam Fulton claimed the kick-off and tried to run again, so he was fair game to be taken over the sideline.
50: UNFORCED ERROR WESTS TIGERS
Tim Simona makes an unforced error.
Tim Simona has set off.. he took the quick tap and exploded through the line. He had eyes for the try-line but was grassed by Winterstein who forced an error. Well done.
51: PENALTY Cowboys. They will come on the attack again.
53: PENALTY Tigers - Thurston was lurking in the play the ball too long.
57: Tigers just building pressure here.. forcing a dropout.
58: Robbie Farah goes himself down the short side but only gets introduced to the sideline.
59: Thurston with an NFL style throw to Winterstein. Unlucky there Payton.
61: PENALTY Tigers - interfering in the ruck.
62: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Matthew Wright makes an unforced error.
That was the Wright call by Matthew as he saved a certain try there.
63: PENALTY Tigers - holding on too long.
63: UNFORCED ERROR WESTS TIGERS
Chris Lawrence makes an unforced error.
Tigers try using Lawrence as a lead runner, no good. Good defense from the visitors.
64: PENALTY Cowboys - holding down. Winterstein is down clutching his leg.
67: SIX MORE Tigers as Cowboys knock it down.
67: VIDEO REFEREE: Checking a Tigers try..
67: RED LIGHTS..NO TRY! Simona was close but no cigar.
70: Cowboys will get a PENALTY though, for a shoulder charge.
70: David Nofoaluma luckily gets it over the dead ball line.. repeat set.
73: Cowbys just aren't in sync tonight.. another set that was incomplete..
74: UNFORCED ERROR WESTS TIGERS
David Nofoaluma makes an unforced error.
What a try saver by Michael Morgan. David Nofoaluma found some space between the lines but as he was diving for the try-line.. Morgan knocked it out.
74: TRY WESTS TIGERS
Scored by Pat Richards. Kick to come.
Farah heads out to his left finds Richards who walks in the winner.
76: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION WESTS TIGERS
Conversion attempt by Pat Richards unsuccessful.
Richards steps up and just fades it wide.
76: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
James Tamou makes an unforced error.
It was knocked forward from Tamou during the short restart.
78: It isn't looking good for Farah, he is cradling that arm as he walks off.
80: FULL-TIME! Tigers guts out a 16 points to 4 victory.