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Fulltime score: Finals 2005 - Week 1 TIGERS 50 v COWBOYS 6 Match summary: The Wests Tigers have delivered a stunning football lesson to the Cowboys, thrashing the North Queenslanders 50-6 in the opening match of the 2005 Finals series at Telstra Stadium tonight.
Tigers' full back Brett Hodgson was in sensational form, posting a record 30 points as he ran in a hat trick of tries and kicked nine goals from nine attempts.
The Tigers dominated the early stages of the match to post a handy 14-0 lead after 28 minutes. The Cowboys struck back just before half time to make it 14-6. But the warning signs were there with the Tigers controlling the ruck and the Cowboys lacking in communication.
The second half turned into a carve-up with the Tigers scoring 36 unanswered points and delivering a massive body blow to the Cowboys and their premiership aspirations.
Tigers v Cowboys match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game
[main picture: Shane Elford]
Scorers: WESTS TIGERS 50 Tries: Hodgson 3, Elford, Fitzhenry, Whatuira, Fulton, Richards Goals: Hodgson 9/9 NTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS 6 Tries: Sing Goals: Hannay 1/1
Telstra Stadium Crowd: 26,463 Referee: Paul Simpkins Half time: Tigers 14-6
Live commentary: Big night at Telstra Stadium with both sides set to entertain with some open play. The Wests Tigers are as per the card. The Cowboys have made changes to an extended bench with David Faiumu being included, Matt Scott and Rod Jensen being omitted.
Kick off soon in this First Qualifying Final of 2005...
0 min: NEWS - Tigers kick over the dead ball and out on the full from the kick off!. Penalty to Cowboys from half way.
4 min: NEWS - Huge bust up the middle from Paul Rauhihi for the Cowboys who are unable to capitalise. The Tigers get the ball and a relieving penalty.
9 min: PENALTY GOAL - Tigers. Brett Hodgson makes no mistake from almost in front. Follows an attacking raid from the Tigers and an infringement in the play-the-ball area from Steve Southern. Tigers 2-0
11 min: HELD UP. Tigers denied on the fourth tackle when John Skandalis can't get the ball down.
16 min: TRY - Tigers. Shane Elford scores in the corner following a neat backward movement with Benji Marshall and Scott Prince getting involved. The Tigers have been well on top in the last 10 minutes - all the play happening in the Cowboys' half. The Tigers also enjoying the advantage of a 5-2 penalty count. Conversion from Hodgson is a ripper. Tigers 8-0
22 min: NEWS - No change to score but the Cowboys getting some possession now. Unfortunately they are unable to put on a decent last tackle play and kill off any chance of a repeat set.
28 min: TRY - Tigers. Hodgson bursts through a yawning gap following some great scrum play from Marshall. Hodgson running 50m to score 12m in from touch. Hodgson converts. Tigers 14-0
37 min: TRY - Cowboys. Matt Sing scores 15m in from touch. Follows a tremendous passage of play with the Cowboys getting repeat sets - the Tigers defending magnificently before their line was finally breached. Conversion Josh Hannay is OK. Tigers 14-6
Half time: Tigers 14-6 Nice comeback from the Cowboys late in the half but overall they have been battling to communicate when it counts. Possession about evens - the Tigers deserving leaders at this time. Hang on for what will be a cracker of a match in the second half.
Second half underway...
44 min: TRY - Tigers. Hodgson races away to score under the posts after the Tigers start the second half on fire, the Cowboys being split open from 12m out. Hodgson converts. Tigers 20-6
48 min: TRY - Tigers. Daniel Fitzhenry scores. Everything going the way of the Tigers. Conversion Hodgson. Tigers 26-6
65 min: NEWS - Still 26-6 in favour of the Tigers.
66 min: TRY - Tigers Paul Whatuira steps and steps again to run some 25m and score 12m in from touch. Hodgson converts. Tigers 32-6
68 min: NO TRY - Tigers denied by 'ref's call' after Anthony Laffranchi is held up.
70 min: TRY - Tigers. Liam Fulton busts through from 10m as the Cowboys refuse to put ball carrier on the ground. Hodgson converts 12m in from touch. Tigers 38-6
72 min: TRY - Tigers. Hodgson posts a hat trick, running through off a Dene Halatau pass to score. Its a carve up! Hodgson converts and sets a new club record. Tigers 44-6
79 min: TRY - Tigers. Pat Richards steps through from 20m out. Hodgson converts for a personal tally of 30 points. Tigers 50-6
FULL TIME: Tigers 50-6
The Wests Tigers scored 36 points to nil in the second half and have simply thrashed the North Queensland Cowboys, beating them at all points on the park. A huge boost for the Tigers while Cowboys have to re-group and hope that other results fall their way if they're to continue on in the finals.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - B Hodgson (Tigers) 2 - B Marshall (Tigers) 1 - J Skandalis (Tigers) -----------------------------------------
Teams at kick off: TIGERS: Brett Hodgson, Daniel Fitzhenry, Shane Elford, Paul Whatuira, Pat Richards, Benji Marshall, Scott Prince (c), Anthony Laffranchi, Robbie Farah, John Skandalis, Ben Galea, Mark O'Neill, Dene Halatau. Interchange: Liam Fulton, Chris Heighington, Bronson Harrison, Bryce Gibbs.
COWBOYS: Matt Bowen, Ty Williams, Josh Hannay, Paul Bowman, Matt Sing, Johnathan Thurston, Brett Firman, Paul Rauhihi, Aaron Payne, Shane Tronc, Steve Southern, Luke O'Donnell, Travis Norton (c). Interchange: Jacob Lillyman, Justin Smith, Mitchell Sargent, David Faiumu