Wests Tigers have gone down 8-0 to the North Queensland Cowboys in a tough Round 11 clash at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday evening.
A back-and-forth game that saw both sides starved of attacking opportunities, the Cowboys would hold a 2-0 lead for most of the match, before a scrappy try in the final minutes sealed the win and ensured an eighth-straight win for the visitors.
After a solid opening stanza from both teams, Wests Tigers would see their best chance of the half after 19 minutes. Martin Taupau went through a half-gap close to the line off a Luke Brooks short ball but was unable to get across the stripe, keeping the score at 0-0.
A loose ball saw the Cowboys quickly shift it left and find some space soon after, but a desperate ankle-tap from Delouise Hoeter saved a certain try from Justin O’Neill. The Cowboys remained on the attack, however, and picked up a penalty from a strip shortly after — which Ethan Lowe quickly turned into two points and a 2-0 lead for the visitors.
Wests Tigers would have plenty of chances to cross the line in the final few moments of the half, but some strong defence from the Cowboys would keep them at bay, with the scoreboard showing a surprising scoreline of 2-0 as the two teams went to the break.
With the unfortunate news that Tim Simona would not be returning for the home side in the second half due to an ankle injury, Wests Tigers continued to mount attacking pressure for no reward as handling errors plagued their solid build-up work.
Kevin Naiqama appeared destined to score the first try of the night when he raced on to a soccered kick from Mitchell Moses after 53 minutes, but spilled the ball trying to plant it down — keeping the scoreline in favour of the visitors by just two points.
A barnstorming run down the left wing from Pat Richards, which resulted in a kick back on the inside for Taupau, was the next best chance for Wests Tigers to breaking the scoreline, but the New Zealand international was again pulled down agonisingly short.
Jason Taylor’s side would continue to try and find an attacking spark, but to no avail, and would eventually see their chance at victory slip away in the final minutes as an error gifted Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein a try in the 77th minute.
Lowe’s conversion pushed the score to 8-0, which is how it would finish on the night.
Wests Tigers will look to end a run of recent defeats after next week’s bye when they take on the Gold Coast Titans at Leichhardt Oval on Friday, June 5.
FULL TIME — North Queensland Cowboys 8 (Winterstein tries; Lowe 2/2 goals) def. Wests Tigers 0