Wests Tigers suffered a 50-22 loss to Nth Qld Cowboys at 1300 Smiles Stadium in Townsville tonight in round 26 of the Telstra Premiership.


The match marked the final appearance of Benji Marshall in a Wests Tigers jersey after 11 seasons of outstanding service to the club. The match was evenly poised throughout before the Cowboys pulled away late to claim the two competition points. The home side scored nine tries to four in the end.


The Cowboys opened the scoring in the fourth minute when half-back Robert Lui threw a dummy to second-rower Curtis Sironen to score next to the posts against his former club. Five-eighth Johnathan Thurston converted for a 6-0 lead.


Wests Tigers hit back four minutes later when hooker and captain Robbie Farah put through a grubber kick on the Cowboys tryline for full-back James Tedesco to dive on the ball to score. Marshall converted the try for a 6-all scoreline.


The Cowboys were denied a try to winger Wayne Ulugia when Tedesco and Tim Simona combined to take him over the sideline in-goal.


Ulugia was not to be denied a second time when he dived over in the right corner in the 23rd minute from a pass by Matt Bowen to score for a 10-6 lead to the Cowboys. Thurston failed to convert the try from the sideline.


Wests Tigers centre Bodene Thompson tried to burrow his way over from dummy half but lost control of the ball just short of the line and into the arms of Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein.


A short ball by Farah saw second-rower Curtis Sironen use his strength to barge over out wide in the minute for a 10-all scoreline. Marshall failed to convert the try.


The Cowboys regained the lead when Thurston took an intercept pass from Farah to race 70 metres to score in the 37th minute. He converted his own try for a 16-10 lead.


Ulugia scored his second try as the half-time siren sounded when he finished off a backline play from a scrum win to score for a 20-10 lead. Thurston converted the try to give the Cowboys a 22-10 lead at half-time.


2nd Half

Winterstein was denied a try in the opening minutes of the second half when winger David Nofoaluma pushed his opposite over the sideline.


Simona got Wests Tigers back to 22-14 in the 47th minute when Marshall delivered a perfect cut out pass on the last tackle to put the centre through a gap to score in the left corner. Marshall converted the try from the sideline to leave Wests Tigers trailing 22-16.


Tedesco scored under the posts in the 50th minute when a flick pass from Marshall hit the head of the full-back before going to ground for the referee to call play on for a 22-20 scoreline. Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers a 22-22 scoreline.


Wests Tigers lock Ben Murdoch-Masila was placed on report for a high tackle on full-back Matt Bowen.


The Cowboys took advantage when a short pass from Thurston saw Jason Taumalolo score next to the posts in the 60th minute for a 26-22 lead. Thurston converted the try for a 28-22 scoreline.


Winterstein extended the Cowboys lead a few minutes later when he dived over in the corner for a 32-22 scoreline. Thurston converted the try for a 34-22 lead after 65 minutes.


Nth Qld secured victory when Bowen produced some fancy footwork to dive over from 10 metres out in his final career game. Thurston converted the try for a 40-22 lead.


Bowen grabbed his second try when he followed through a Lui grubber kick to score for a 44-22 lead. Bowen converted the try from next to the posts for a 46-22 scoreline.


Ulugia grabbed his third try inside the final five minutes to bring up the half century mark for the Cowboys for a 50-22 scoreline. Bowen failed to convert the try.


The loss saw Wests Tigers finish the season in 15th place with just seven wins.


Earlier today, Wests Tigers beat Nth Qld 48-14 in the Holden Cup competition to finish the regular season in fifth place ahead of next weeks finals series. Full-back Kurtis Rowe bagged a hat-trick of tries in the win.


Wests Tigers lost 32-30 to Mounties to finish the regular season of the NSW Cup competition in seventh place. The finals begin next weekend.