Top 5 at Five: Trips to Townsville
Wests Tigers will return to 1300 SMILES Stadium this Saturday to take on the North Queensland Cowboys at home for the first time since Round 22, 2014.
Arguably the toughest road trip to make in the NRL both in terms of the distance and competition, Wests Tigers haven’t always had it their way in Townsville, but have chalked up several memorable victories throughout their 15 matches there.
In this week’s Top 5 at Five brought to you by Share Care, we count down our top 5!
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5. Round 4, 2007 — Cowboys 25 def. Wests Tigers 24
Perhaps a strange way to kick off this week’s Top 5 with a defeat, but there’s no denying the spectacle that was Wests Tigers’ early-season clash against the Cowboys. In front of a 21,879-strong crowd, the 2005 Grand Finalists played out a thrilling contest, before several moments of brilliance from Matt Bowen secured a one-point win for the Cowboys. In a back-and-forth first half, it was Wests Tigers who emerged with a 14-6 lead at the break, and led 24-12 late in the match, before tries to Ashley Graham and Bowen locked the scores up at 24-all in the dying minutes. With the match destined to remain level after 80 minutes, it was then Bowen who stepped up in the final seconds to slot a field goal and confirm victory for the Cowboys in a highly-entertaining contest.
4. Round 4, 2004 — Wests Tigers 18 def. Cowboys 8
Wests Tigers had to wait until 2004 to secure their first win over the Cowboys in Townsville, and it was off the back of young utility Benji Marshall, who unfortunately ended the match with a serious shoulder injury. In a tight first half, tries either side of the break to Jason Moodie and Shane Elford gave the visitors a comfortable lead, before Moodie grabbed his second with a 65m effort to ensure a surprising upset win.
3. Round 5, 2010 — Wests Tigers 23 def. Cowboys 16
In another match soured by injury to playmaker Tim Moltzen, it was a typically grinding yet flamboyant performance from Wests Tigers to defeat the Cowboys up north in 2010. Two tries to centre Chris Lawrence and Chris Heighington had the visitors in control at half-time, leadifng 18-2, before Jonathan Thurston led the Cowboys back in to the contest at 18-12. Robbie Farah killed the home side’s momentum with a cool field goal seven minutes from time, before Lote Tuqiri sealed the win with a short side play.
2. Round 19, 2011 — Wests Tigers 38 def. Cowboys 18
Wests Tigers’ most recent win over the Cowboys in Townsville came back in 2011 when the visitors blew a depleted home side off the park with a dominant 20-point victory. Missing both Thurston and captain Matt Scott, the Cowboys found themselves down 12-4 at the break but did have a chance to fight their way into the contest with an intercept try right after half-time to Willie Tonga cutting the lead to 12-10. From there, however, it was all Wests Tigers as the visitors’ right edge cut their way through the Cowboys — running in four second-half tries to post a 20-point victory in the end.
1. Round 2, 2008 — Wests Tigers 30 def. Cowboys 10
It was labeled by then Coach Tim Sheens labeled it as “one of the better wins in Club history” as Wests Tigers overcame player absences, injuries and a heated match to record a 30-10 win. Losing both Marshall and Brett Hodgson to injury, Chris Lawrence filled in with goal-kicking duties (slotting two goals from five attempts) to go with his own four-pointer in the win. Crossing for a vital try before the break through Bronson Harrison to lead 14-4 and halt the Cowboys momentum, Wests Tigers showed great grit and determination throughout the second half — running in three great team tries to Tim Moltzen, Liam Fulton and Lawrence — to chalk up an emphatic victory. “That is definitely one of our better wins,” Sheens said after the match. “The fill-in players, and by that I’m not being derogatory towards them, have really done a great job for us. It’s certainly been a good start to the season for us and hopefully we can keep that going.”