North Queensland have ended a 4 game losing run to pick up a much needed 17-10 victory over a sloppy Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium this evening.
Both sides were messy to start the game, however it was the Warriors with all the field position, momentum and possession early on and in the 18th minute they finally turned it into points when they shifted the ball left from Chanel Harris-Tavita to Gerard Beale, who attracted the outside defender before passing to Ken Maumalo. The winger snuck down the sideline and dived over to score in the corner. Harris-Tavita was unable to convert from touch.
The 25th minute saw the Cowboys strike back when Jake Clifford, on the right side, made an almost half-hearted looking run to the line on the last tackle, but then the defence opened up as he stepped off his right to straighten, he then passed to Coen Hess on his right side and the big forward scored. Jordan Kahu converted to give the Cowboys a 2 point lead.
In the space of a minute the Warriors had two tries disallowed by the video referee. First, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck found a little space and put in a wobbly little grubber which Te Maire Martin fumbled. Tohu Harris got the ball out behind him, Beale cleaned up and dived over to score, however the bunker found a knock on by Harris in that previous play.
Then from the first play off the scrum, the Warriors spread the ball right and Maumalo dived over out wide. However the bunker ruled that Adam Blair had taken out the Cowboys defender in his decoy run.
Right on halftime, Blair was ruled offside defending his line, and Kahu kicked a penalty goal for the Cowboys.
The Warriors needed to score first after the break and Tuivasa-Sheck did just that in the 47th minute. He got the ball on the left side, then put on a shimmy-shake and then just runs through the gap off his left foot, beats the fullback and scored under the posts. Harris-Tavita converted.
In the 57th minute a Michael Morgan kick downfield was knocked on by Tuivasa-Sheck with no pressure on him. On this first tackle from the scrum Morgan grubbered through the line to the right side and Justin O'Neill stormed through, regathered, bumps off a tackle, got back to his feet and dived over for a try. Kahu converted.
8 minutes later Morgan kicked a 40/20 and after receiving a penalty, Kahu kicked a penalty goal.
With 6 minutes remaining, Morgan slotted a cheeky field goal to give his side a 7 point victory.
Next Thursday the Warriors' plight gets no easier, with the annual ANZAC Day evening clash against Melbourne at AAMI Park. The Cowboys will carry their improved form to ANZ Stadium where they'll face last-placed Canterbury on Friday evening.