Warriors hold on against Cowboys

The Warriors have held out the Cowboys in a closely contested match with a 20 - 18 victory in front of 10, 572 fans at Mt. Smart Stadium.

In what turned out to be quite a physical game, the Warriors were able to hold out the Cowboys despite losing players throughout the course of the game. Dane Nielsen was the first off with a rib cartilage problem, Kevin Locke left the field with 10 minutes to go and Ben Henry was taken off with a concussion.

The Cowboys were first on the scoring sheet when Fai Fai Loa went over the line in acrobatic style as far into the corner as he could have. Thurston converted to give them an early 6 point lead after 10 minutes. Just two minutes later the Warriors gave away a penalty right in front and Thurston again kicked the ball through the posts to make it 8 - 0.

After 22 minutes the Cowboys capitalised on a massive overlap in the Warriors defence to see Brent Tate cruise over the line for the Cowboys second. Thurston missed the conversion and they were now two converted tried in front.

Shaun Johnson managed to kick his third 40/20 in 4 weeks in the 32nd minute to give the Warriors great field position. After 39 minutes the Warriors were able to get the ball back from a Johnson bomb and send Elijah Taylor in for a try to the right of the posts. Johnson converted the try and the score stood at 12 - 6 which ended up as the half time score. Both teams were still in the game at the halfway point and it was left to who wanted it most in the second.

Right from the kick off of the second half the Warriors were on the charge. It took only 4 minutes for the Warriors to score with Johnson crossing for a great individual try stepping Cowboys defenders left and right. he converted his own try to take the scores to 12 - 12.

In the 54th minute, the Warriors crossed for their third try, and took the lead in the game for the first time. Leuluai passed the ball to Hurrell who angled back in and crashed over a number of defenders to score on the right of the posts. Johnson in fine form again converted the try to take the scores to 18 - 12.

The Warriors got a penalty in the 72nd minute close to the Cowboys line, but at an angle to the posts. Johnson took the oppotunity to take the lead beyond a converted try with a successful kick at goal to make the score 20-12.

A late surge and receiving the ball from their own short kick off, the Cowboyswere able to score a try to Winterstein in the 19th minute in the far corner. Thurston converted the kick to take the scores to 20 - 18.

The Warriors had less than 2 minutes to hold on and went to the long kick option. The Cowboys received the ball and went wide to Tate who knocked the ball on attempting a pass to Fai Fai Loa, and the siren sounded.

The Warriors will be able to celebrate a win tonight for the first time in 2013, which is sure to take some pressure off Mat Elliot. They will need to take the confidence of this win into round 5, as they face the Rabbitohs on Sunday afternoon at home. The Cowboys play at home in a short turnaround against the Panthers on Saturday night.

Match Details
New Zealand Warriors 20 North Queensland Cowboys 18
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Crowd: 10 572
Halftime Score: Cowboys - 12-6

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Simon Mannering
2 points - Bill Tupou
1 point - Shaun Johnson

Tries: Shaun Johnson, Elijah Taylor, Konrad Hurrell
Field Goals:
Conversions: Shaun Johnson (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Shaun Johnson (1/1)

Tries: Kalifa Fai Fai Loa, Brent Tate, Antonio Winterstein
Field Goals:
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Johnathan Thurston (1/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

The Cowboys have a few changes to the team named earlier in the week. Fai Fai Loa slots in for Graham, Hall drops back to the bench with Taumalolo joining the run on side. The bench includes Hall, Bolton, Kostjasyn and Tariq Sims.
The Warriors also have a number of changes to the starting side. Laumape is in on the wing to partner Tupou, the backrow is Mateo and Mannering with Lowie in at lock. Lillyman is brought into the run on side with Friend back in the hooker position. The bench is made up of Taylor, Matulino, Henry and Godinet.
Welcome to the game from Mt. Smart Stadium. It's a cloudy day with only a few rays of sunlight coming through at the moment, but the rain looks to be holding off at this stage. Both teams come into this game after losing last week, the difference being, the Cowboys have won one this year. Can the Warriors get a win, or will the Cowboys storm home to show they are indeed a Premiership force this year?
The Cowboys are lead out onto the field by Thurstson followed by Mannering and his Warriors. The ball comes out of the tunnel carried by a kid on a dirt bike doing a wheel stand. Warriors will be running left to right and will be kicking off.
1 min: Thurston kicks on the 4th after only making 40 metres from the first set. It was an average kick and the Warriors are on the attack.
1 min:Leuluai kicks dead after an attacking raid from the Warriors starting from a Mateo offload. Cowboys to restart from the 20m line.
1 min: Cowboys get a repeat set after the ball is kicked into the in goal and grounded by a Warriors player.
1 min: The Cowboys kick into the ingoal area and it is cleaned up on the full. Warriors start another set from the 20m and go the length of the field. The ball is kicked out in goal by Johnson and NQ get the ball back from the 20m line.
2 min: Cowboys knock it on and the Warriors get the scrum feed.
4 min: Tupou and Mateo with offloads and the ball eventually gets to Leuluai who kicks a low bomb into the ingoal. Ball bounces of Tate into Fai Fai Loa for a goal line drop out. Warriors on the attack again.
5 min: Johnson gets another repeat set for the Warriors after a grubber in goal which is batted out by Fai Fai Loa.
6 min: A forward pass is picked up by the touch judge and the Cowboys will get the feed.
7 min: Thurston with a shocker of a kick that ricochets off a Warriors player and bounces back into Thurstons hands for a repeat set.
10 min: The ball is played through the hands out to the wing and Fai Fai Loa gets an acrobatic try in the corner. Thurstons kick is successful from a difficult angle.
North Queensland Cowboys 6-0
11 min: PENALTY: Lowrie is penalised for holding down the player. The Cowboys will take a kick for goal from in front.
12 min:
North Queensland Cowboys 8-0
15 min: Tate spills the balls in a tackle and the Warriors will get the scrum feed on their own 40m line.
17 min: Hurrell runs onto a ball for a chance at the tryline but drops it into the process. The Cowboys are on the attack and make 60 metres in the set.
18 min: KNOCK ON: A bomb is put up from Bowen and is knocked on in goal from the Warriors. Cowboys get a repeat set.
19 min: 6 More for the Cowboys after Mateo knocks on trying to get to the ball.
19 min: PENALTY: Lowrie is pinged for having a hand on the ball in the tackle.
22 min: TRY! Brent Tate in for a try after the Cowboys have played out to the right with a massive overlap. Thurston misses after the ball swung wide.
North Queensland Cowboys 12-0
28 min: Thurston with a big kick from the first set after the try. Locke almost forced back in goal.
29 min: Morgan with a dropped pass from Thurston.
29 min: PENALTY: Warriors held down in the tackle.
31 min: Johnson and Leuluai almost in for tries but it's all for nothing as the bomb into the in goal is too far and taken by Tate easily.
32 min: Johnson kicks a massive 40/20 that bounces high over Fai Fai Loa's head and out for a Warriors scrum feed.
34 min: Hurrell knocks on running onto the ball and Thurston gets a foot to the ball but knocks on further down the field. The refs have said no advantage played and the Cowboys will get the ball back.
36 min: Johnson kicks into the corner but its gone too far and back to the Cowboys from the 20m line.
37 min: Tate knocks on from a Thurston bomb.
38 min: Nielsen down clutching at the right rib cage.
39 min: Taylor in for a try after a messy set. A kick went up and it was cleaned up by Leuluai, fed out to Taylor who was in for the Warriors first try. Johnson converts successfully.
North Queensland Cowboys 12-6
40 min: Half time at Mt. Smart and the Cowboys go into the sheds in the lead. The scoreline gives a good indication of how the game has gone thus far, given weight of possession and mistakes made / penalties given. We'll be back for the second half shortly.
40 min: Thurston restarts the second half kicking off to the Warriors. Nielsen has been confirmed as OUT for the rest of this game. Henry into the Centres.
41 min: Locke driven back in goal but gets a great offload and they take it out to start the set in their own 10. The Warriors take it the length of the field and kick for the corner however Bowen takes it out for a repeat set.
44 min: TRY! Johnson with a great individual effort to cut through Cowboys defenders for a try. He converts his own try and levels up the scores.
12 all
46 min: The chase from the Warriors is excellent after a Johnson kick to the corner.
49 min: Matulino drops the ball in a tackle and it travels forward. Cowboys get the scrum feed from 20 out.
50 min: VIDEO REFEREE. Linnett looks to have dived over from dummy half. They are checking the grounding of the ball.
51 min: PENALTY - NO TRY. Kostjasyn steps forward while playing the ball into Warriors players and is penalised.
54 min: Leuluai dishes it out to Hurrell who cuts through the defensive line to score. Once he got the ball there was no stopping him, he angled back in and crashed over the fullback to put it down. Johnson kicks the conversion and the Warriors lead the game for the first time.
New Zealand Warriors 18-12
54 min: The kick off is out on the full. Cowboys will get a penalty on half way.
56 min: 6 More - Fai Fai Loa attempts to pick up a loose ball and gives away another 6 tackles. Warriors 10m out from the try line.
56 min: Bowen cleans up a short kick and they survive that attacking raid from the Warriors.
57 min: PENALTY - Taylor gives away a penalty for holding down Thurston in the tackle.
58 min: Bowen knocks on from the pass. Warriors get the scrum feed on their own 20m line.
60 min: Mannering is pulled up for throwing a forward pass on the Cowboys 40m line.
60 min: Linnett loses the ball in a 2 man tackle in the Warriors half.
62 min: Locke has knocked on trying to grab the ball from a Shaun Johnson bomb. Cowboys get the ball back on their own 10m line.
62 min: KNOCK ON! Bowen passes to Tate who screams down the right hand sideline. He glimpses Bowen in his peripherals for the pass for a certain try but out of no where comes Fai Fai Loa and drops the ball after contact from Locke.
64 min: Johnson kicks on the last and sends it into touch for both teams to have a breather. Cowboys will restart from the scrum on their own 10m line.
66 min: Good set by the Cowboys then with a trademark Thurston banana kick to end it. Locke cleans up and runs it back to their own 10m.
66 min: PENALTY - Tamou penalised for holding down the player in the tackle.
68 min: 6 More - Leuluai kicks into a defenders legs and they get a repeat set.
68 min: KNOCK ON - Friend knocks on after a poor offload was thrown out of the back of the tackle.
69 min: PENALTY Elijah Taylor pinged for laying all over the Cowboys attacker.
70 min: Tate throws a forward pass to Fai Fai Loa and the try they would have scored is called back. Having said that, Fai Fai Loa dropped it over the line....
72 min: CHARGEDOWN - Tamou knocks down a Johnson kick and they get 6 more tackles for his troubles.
72 min: Locke off the field after a big hit from Linnett.
74 min: KNOCK ON - Tate with a knock on from a Thurston Bomb. Warriors to restart from their own 10m line. Tupou has copped a knock in the last play. Also concerns for Ben Henry.
74 min: A stray Thurston pass is knocked on by Taumalolo.
75 min: PENALTY - Tate penalised for laying down in the tackle all over the Warriors player.
77 min: Henry has now gone off with a concussion. Warriors down to 12 players for the last few minutes as they have no more interchanges.
77 min: Johnson successfully kicks the penalty goal to take them more than a converted try in front.
New Zealand Warriors 20-12
78 min: The Cowboys attempt a short kick off and it pays off. They collect and take it up the field.
79 min: The pass from Thurston goes out to Bowen who sends Winterstein over in the corner. They look at it in a video replay and he's got it down before going out. Thurston kicks from the sideline.
New Zealand Warriors 20-18
79 min: KNOCK ON! The Cowboys receive the ball from the kick off an go out to the wing. Unfortunately for them, Tate knocks it on trying to pass to his winger.
80 min: The siren blows and the Warriors have won the game. It's been over 200 days since their last win so I'm sure they will be celebrating tonight. The first half was closely contested, however the Cowboys had nothing in the second half, and the Warriors capitalised accordingly.