Wests Tigers’ NYC side have gone 30-16 to the North Queensland Cowboys in their Round 22 clash on Saturday evening at 1300 SMILES Stadium.
With regular players such as Dallas Graham and John Tohi called up into the Club’s NSW Cup team as injuries took their affect on all three grades, Wests Tigers welcomed back Matthew Lodge from injury, as well as Jayden Wheelhouse into the team as they looked to make it back-to-back wins over the Cowboys.
But despite showing promise early, it was the hosts who crossed for the first points of the match through Scott Schulte in the 10th minute.
Corey Jensen had no problems with the extras and pushed the lead to 6-0.
Wheelhouse was taken from the field injured in the next attacking set, with Mason Farrell brought in to replace him amidst a re-shuffle across the backline.
Wests Tigers soon hit back on the scoreboard as Lamar Liolevave barged his way over close to the posts in the 24th minute — leaving halfback Eli Levido with the simple task of adding the extras to level the score at 6-6.
John Ogden nearly pushed the visitors in front in the 31st minute following a grubber from Te Maire Martin, but he was unable to ground the ball, and that soon proved costly as Conor Carey crossed for the hosts in the following set.
Jensen was unable to add the extras, leaving the score at 10-6.
After a penalty against Wests Tigers for offside from the kickoff, the Cowboys took full advantage of their strong field position to post more points, with Samsen O’Neill going over in the corner in the 34th minute.
Jensen again was unable to add the extras, with the Cowboys maintaining their 14-6 lead over the Wests Tigers as the teams went into the half-time break.
Ogden again threatened the line shortly after the break, but was unable to get across the white stripe, and once more, it turned into points for the hosts. The Cowboys marched up the other end and soon crossed next to the posts through Delayne Ashby in the 44th minute — allowing Jensen to add easy conversion.
That gave the Cowboys somewhat of a shock 20-6 lead with 36 minutes to play.
Liolevave quickly pulled the visitors back into the match in the 54th minute with a strong run leading to a linebreak, and then a superb cut-out ball to Ogden, who finally found his way across the try-line. Levido couldn’t add the extras, though, and the score remained 20-10 in favour of North Queensland.
As Wests Tigers struggled to make the most of their good attacking chances, it was the Cowboys who crossed next through Viliame Kikau close to the posts.
Jensen had no problems with the conversion, and sent the Cowboys in front by a scoreline of 26-10 with just over 15 minutes remaining in the match.
O’Neill crossed for his second try of the match in the 71st to push the scoreline out to 30-10 following Jensen’s unsuccessful conversion, and although the visitors would cross for a consolation try through Hala Masila, the Cowboys were still able to walk away with an impressive 14-point win from the match.
Wests Tigers will look to keep their hopes at a top-four finish alive when they take on the Sydney Roosters on Saturday, August 16 at Leichhardt Oval.
Final: North Queensland Cowboys 30 def. Wests Tigers 16