North Queensland Cowboys won an entertaining game tonight at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville, defeating New Zealand Warriors 24-12 to consolidate their position in the top eight and ensuring that the Warriors will need to beat the Sharks this weekend to have any chance of qualitying for the finals.
For the Cowboys Antonio Winterstein was replaced on the wing by Javid Bowen while Shaun Fensom started in the front row with John Asiata reverting to the bench.
The Warriors made one late change on their bench with James Gavet out with a broken arm. He was replaced by Chris Satae who made his NRL debut.
New Zealand went ahead early in the game when Roger Tuivasa-Sheck put Bunty Afoa through a gap and over the line.
The Cowboys replied on 20 minutes when Lachlan Coote delivered a perfect pass to Justin O’Neill to level the scores.
Two minutes before the break a Jake Granville grubber fell kindly into the hands of Javid Bowen for the Cowboys’ second try.
But right on the interval Simon Mannering pushed through the line to grab a try, with Issac Luke’s second conversion levelling the scores.
Ethan Lowe put the Cowboys ahead on 51 minutes with a penalty and he then scored their third try, touching down in the corner from a superb offload by Kyle Feldt but he couldn’t convert his own try.
The Warriors desperately tried to get back into the game, but in the final minute lowe swooped on an offload from David Fusitua and ran 90 metres to touch down and convert his own try for the Cowboys fourth successive win.
Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Kane Linnett, 21 Javid Bowen, 6 Te Maire Martin, 7 Michael Morgan, 16 Shaun Fensom, 9 Jake Granville, 10 Scott Bolton, 11 Gavin Cooper (c), 12 Ethan Lowe, 13 Jason Taumalolo; Interchange: 8 John Asiata, 14 Ben Hampton, 15 Coen Hess, 17 Corey Jensen
Tries: O’Neill, Bowen 2, Lowe; Goals: Lowe 4
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitua, 3 Blake Ayshford, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Kieran Foran, 7 Mason Lino, 8 Jacob Lillyman, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Bodene Thompson, 12 Bunty Afoa, 13 Simon Mannering; Interchange: 14 Ata Hingano, 15 Sam Lisone, 17 Ligi Sao, 20 Chris Satae
Tries: Afoa, Mannering; Goals: Luke 2
Monday’s edition of League Express, available in the shops or online, will feature full coverage of all the weekend’s NRL matches.