Walker magic sees Roosters come from behind against Cronulla
7 hours ago | Josh Robertson
While the North Queensland Cowboys and their supporters will have to keep waiting for the first win they can celebrate together at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, they'll all be able enjoy tonight's dominant 36-6 performance over the Gold Coast Titans.
It was the second fast-paced and free-flowing game in as many nights following the NRL's rule change around defensive ruck infringements, which played right into the hands of North Queensland's mobile forward pack and speed men.
Once Jason Taumalolo began his second-half stint in the 52nd minute, it only took a few minutes for the Cowboys to notch up their first of four second-half tries that set the home side on a 22-0 second-half shut-out of the Titans.
The 55th minute try was set up by a Taumalolo line break in the middle of the park and, despite being tackled by Phillip Sami at fullback, he earned a six again penalty. A couple of tackles later bench hooker Recce Robson could not be stopped on a dart from dummy-half at close range for his first NRL try.
Robson was in again three minutes later as another dash from dummy-half, this time about seven metres out, caught the defence flat-footed and he scored close to the posts and almost untouched for a 26-6 lead.
The only points for the Titans came in the 14th minute as they shifted left on the last at close range to Brian Kelly's wing and, seemingly trapped by three Cowboys players with no momentum, Kelly put on a spin toward the sideline to beat Feldt all ends up.
It was a tough start the Titans had to try recovering from as it took 12 minutes for the visitors to complete their first set. Eight errors in the first half and poor last-tackle options from Ash Taylor and the latest Gold Coast halfback Jamal Fogarty limited their ability to build field position pressure.
Fogarty had his best moment of the night in the final five minutes where it looked he had scored a Titans try, but The Bunker ruled Shannon Boyd obstructed the play.
The Titans are now the only team in NRL history to concede 24 points or more in 14 straight games and if they don't get a win by round five they will have gone a full year without an NRL win.
Scott Drinkwater continued his impressive run of play and thrived as the chief playmaker with the absence of Michael Morgan. North Queensland winger Ben Hampton is now the equal leading try scorer in the NRL with Brisbane's Kotoni Staggs, as a double tonight took his season tally of tries to four.
Two Cowboys forwards found themselves in the sin bin for professional fouls, Mitchell Dunn in the 27th minute and Coen Hess in the 77th minute. After both occasions North Queensland was able to increase their lead with 12 men. Valentine Holmes converted six of his seven kicks on the night and contributed three try assists.
Moeaki Fotuaika was the best of the Titans players as he finished with 154 run metres, 43 tackles, a linebreak, four tackle breaks and two offloads.
The Cowboys now await the Cronulla Sharks for a clash next Saturday night at home. Gold Coast will travel to Suncorp Stadium to host the Wests Tigers next Sunday night.
North Queensland Cowboys 36 - Gold Coast Titans 6
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium
Halftime Score: North Queensland Cowboys 14 Gold Coast Titans 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jason Taumalolo
2 points - Scott Drinkwater
1 points - Valentine Holmes
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (36)
Tries: Ben Hampton (2), Justin O'Neill, Reece Robson (2), Kyle Feldt
Conversions: Valentine Holmes (5/6)
Penalty Goals: Valentine Holmes (1/1)
GOLD COAST TITANS (6)
Tries: Brian Kelly
Conversions: Ashley Taylor (1/1)