In a Nutshell
New Zealand Warriors were the best team, but they had to hold on against a late North Queensland Cowboys charge to win 20-16 in Townville,
How it unfolded
The Warriors took the lead in the ninth minute with a try by wingman Glen Fisiiahi, following good play by halfbacks Shaun Johnson and Chad Townsend.
Johnson couldn’t convert, and he couldn’t when Fisiiahi scored his second try from a Johnson grubber on 18 minutes.
Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein should have scored four minutes later, but fumbled a tryscoring attempt, although he did get onto the scoreboard after 27 minutes when he bumped off Fisiiahi and Jerome Ropati to score, with Golden Boot holder Johnathan Thurston adding the convertion from the touchline.
After a period of sustained Warriors’ attack, Konrad Hurrell scored from close range in the 54th minute of the game, and Johnson’s goal gave the New Zealand team an eight-point lead at 6-14.
The Warriors pulled further ahead after they gained a penalty for a high shot on Sam Tomkins by Winterstein, setting up the position for Sione Lousi to barge over, with Johnson’s goal giving the Warriors a 14-point lead.
Michael Morgan pulled one back for the Cowboys on 66 minutes, with Thurston adding the goal, and they seemed revitalised by the score and they gained a goal-line drop-out when Manu Vatuvei was tackled in-goal. Tariq Sims then had a try disallowed when Tomkins held him up.
With six minutes remaining Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt scored a spectacular try on the right with, which Thurston couldn’t convert.
The Cowboys came agonisingly close when Scott Bolton lost the ball trying to score but they were awarded the scrum. And they suffered more agony when Feldt appeared to score, but put his foot on the touchline, giving the Warriors the scrum with 60 seconds remaining.
But Nathan Friend knocked the ball on at the play-the-ball with 36 seconds remaining. But then Kane Linnett knocked on a Thurston pass and the Warriors gained a penalty to play out the final seconds of the game.
A full review of all the weekend’s NRL games will feature in this Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.