Full Time
3:00pm Sat July 17, 2021
Round 18 - Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville - Crowd: 15933

Match Overview

The Sydney Roosters came back from an early 12-point deficit to rack up 34 points to six after that point, beating a North Queensland side that fell away defensively again in the second half 34-18.

The Cowboys opened the scoring in the 5th minute when Scott Drinkwater ran right out of dummy half then turned back to the left before firing a good ball to Javid Bowen who strolled over for a good try. Drinkwater added the extras.

After getting three consecutive sets, the Cowboys crossed again in the 14th minute, again off the back of some great work by Drinkwater, who received the ball at first receiver on the left at halfway, drifted left and showed the ball twice before getting a pass to the straight and fast running Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, who hits a gap and raced 45 metres to score a great try. Drinkwater converted again.

The Roosters finally got on the board in the 26th minute when Drew Hutchison passed to Angus Crichton, who gets one-on-one with Connelly Lemulelu and easily overpowers the flat-footed centre to score on the left side. Sam Walker's sideline conversion is a poor one.

The final 7 minutes of the half saw the Roosters get some momentum which the capitalised on. In the 34th minute, Billy Smith scored after running onto a crash ball. Walker converted to reduce the Roosters deficit to just 2 points.

5 minutes later, just as the halftime bell rang, Joey Manu received the ball on the left side, stepped left, shaped to pass to his winger, doesn't, then walks through the defence to score a pretty soft try. Walker's sideline conversion is waved away and at halftime, the Roosters had taken the lead 14-12.

It took almost 20 minutes for any points to be scored in the second half, with both sides running rather freely, but with rather unimaginative ends to their sets. In the 59th minute Matt Ikuvalu was on the receiving end of the trademark long ball over the top from Walker and he dived over to score in the corner. Walker again failed to convert from touch.

The Cowboys first set after the restart began in magnificent style when Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow fielded a kick on his own goal-line and then ran 90 metres downfield before getting grassed. On the next play, Tom Dearden went left, linked with Mitchell Dunn who turned the ball back to Dearden who then dished a good ball to Reece Robson in support and he dived over to the left of the posts. Drinkwater converted to level the scores.

With the game in the balance going into the final 15 minutes, the Roosters stepped up a gear and the Cowboys defence helped them.

After a great Joseph Manu run, the Roosters shifted the ball left to Walker, who hit Sitili Tupouniua with a crisp pass and the back rower strolled through for an easy try. Walker converted.

Five minutes later, Victor Radley made a great run picking up 30 metres. Walker picked up the ball from dummy half, ran right, switched back to the left and dived over to score beside the posts. He then converted his own try.

A Kyle Feldt knock on inside the final 30 seconds saw a scrum set deep inside the Cowboys half. From the back of the scrum, the Roosters went right to Josh Morris, who got his nose through a tackle, offloaded around the corner to Matt Ikuvalu who strolled over for a try in the corner. Billy Smith was given the goalkicking duties but was unable to trouble the scorers from the sideline.

3. Sam Walker

Walker had a strong game, especially in the second half, showing his bag of tricks, including his trademark long ball to the winger. He scored a smart try, produced some good game management, especially in the second half and an array of nice passes.

2. Victor Radley

Radley out Jason Taumalolo'd Jason Taumalolo. Big metres, tackle breaks, a line break, plenty of solid tackles. Brilliant performance.

1. Joseph Manu

Manu was brilliant at fullback yet again, proving very hard to kick away from, while his kick returns and ability to stand and offload in tackles was a constant threat to the Cowboys defence.