North Queensland Cowboys got their season back on track with their first victory since the opening round last month, overcoming fellow Queenslanders Gold Coast Titans 26-14 at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville.
Some pundits had been suggesting that Cowboys icon Johnathan Thurston might have been mistaken in playing on this season after a stellar career. But Thurston kicked three early penalties in response to Michael Gordon’s for the Titans, before the Cowboys scored their first try in the 34th minute through Ben Hampton, which Thurston converted, and a second try by Luke Feldt just before the interval, which Thurston couldn’t convert, to give the Cowboys a 16-2 lead at the break.
In the second half they went further ahead with tries for Jason Taumalolo and Coen Hess, with Thurston converting the first, for a 26-2 lead.
The Titans came back with two converted tries in the closing stages of the game by Ashley Taylor and Jarrod Wallace, with Gordon converting both, to give the final scoreline an air of respectability.
Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Ben Hampton 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Michael Morgan 7. Johnathan Thurston 8. Matthew Scott 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo; Interchange: 14. Te Maire Martin 15. John Asiata 16. Corey Jensen 17. Ethan Lowe
Tries: Hampton, Feldt, Taumalolo, Hess; Goals: Thurston 5
Titans: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. Phillip Sami 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Tyrone Roberts-Davis 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Ryan James 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Will Matthews 13. Jai Arrow; Interchange: 14. Max King 15. Bryce Cartwright 16. Jack Stockwell 17. Keegan Hipgrave
Tries: Taylor, Wallace; Goals: Gordon 3
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.