Cowboys return to winners circle

NRL TelstraPremiership GRAD
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Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v North Queensland Cowboys

North Queensland have continued their outstanding recent record against Manly at Brookvale with a 26-12 win tonight to open Round 13 of the NRL.

The contest started slowly on a chilly night at Lottoland, with Trent Hodkinson and Johnathan Thurston trading early penalty goals, JT's Cowboys getting the upper hand with a 4-2 lead after seventeen minutes.

But it would be the home team to cross the stripe first. The tallest man in the universe Shaun Lane reached out for the opening four-pointer of the evening after a clever Trent Hodkinson offload in the 25th minute.

The Cowboys didn't waste too much time hitting back though, scoring through Jason Taumalolo at the half-hour mark before Antonio Winterstein stepped inside DCE to grab the visitors' second and suddenly put them ahead 16-8 five minutes before halftime.

Manly struck first after the halftime break, Brian Kelly taking advantage of some poor marker defence on the Cowboys' line to climb over.

With the margin narrowed to four, a tense period ensued, with North Queensland fairly dominant through the next fifteen minutes. They finally capitalised at the 64th minute when Winterstein bagged his second, and doubled it up to seal the result with ten remaining after Kyle Feldt went up for a Thurston cross-field gem of a kick, turning it back for Tuala to slide in and assure his side victory.

The contest wound down with the only meaningful moments in the remaining minutes injuries to Manly's Shaun Lane and Jack Gosiewski, both will no doubt be watched ahead of next weekend's trip to Christchurch to host the Warriors.

It's the Cowboys' fourth win of the season, and they'll be keen to make it five next week when they face last-placed Parramatta in Darwin.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 12 - North Queensland Cowboys 26

Venue: Lottoland
Crowd: 6172
Halftime Score: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 8 North Queensland Cowboys 16 Players of the Match:
3 points - Jason Taumalolo
2 points - Joel Thompson
1 points - Johnathan Thurston

Tries: Shaun Lane, Brian Kelly
Field Goals:
Conversions: Trent Hodkinson (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Trent Hodkinson (1/1)

Tries: Jason Taumalolo, Antonio Winterstein (2), Enari Tuala
Field Goals:
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Johnathan Thurston (2/2)

See how it happened in our Match Centre