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Doubles to Origin hopefuls help Cowboys fire against Tigers

Doubles to Queensland State of Origin hopefuls Valentine Holmes, Jeremiah Nanai and perennial try-scorer Kyle Feldt helped North Queensland Cowboys secure a 42-28 win over Wests Tigers on Friday night. 

The Cowboys were first on the board when Feldt - who missed last week's win against the Rabbitohs with injury - picked up where he left off and scored the opening try of the match.

The try came after home side were able to capitalise when an attacking kick by Lachlan Galvin on the other side of the field went dead, giving them a seven-tackle set, with strong runs in the lead-up from Maroons contenders Holmes and Nanai.

Nanai then added a try of his own soon after with another strong run, with Chad Townsend involved in both tries, providing the last pass for his teammates. 

Jeremiah Nanai 1st Try

The next points were added by Holmes who kicked a penalty goal for an early 14-0 lead, keeping pace with the game clock, after a successful Captain's Challenge gave them the opportunity, after Tigers forward Stefano Utoikamanu was ruled to have stripped at a ball when two players were involved in a tackle on Nanai. 

Feldt had his double after an unfortunate drop attempting to take a high from Solomon Alaimalo gifted the Cowboys the ball, with the home side wasting no time to convert their opportunity into points. 

Alaimalo however was able to make up for his error when he scored the first try of the match for the Tigers, running through the last line of defence off a nice backline play from the Tigers.

Solomon Alaimalo Try

This seemed to spark the visitors, who went back-to-back after exciting fullback Jahream Bula wrested the ball from the hands of his opposite fullback Scott Drinkwater to score and narrow the margin to 20-10 with just over 10 minutes left to the break. 

It was an eventful end to the first half which ended on the same scoreline, with Holmes sent to the sin bin and put on report for a hip drop tackle on Isaiah Papali'i, where he and Tom Dearden got tangled up trying to bring the big forward down close to his line.

The second half started with the same level of high action, with the Cowboys denied on one end of the field, only to concede the opening try of the second half when Samuela Fainu was able to put his side on the front foot with a try in the opening minute to again narrow the scores. 

In an end-to-end display from both sides, the Cowboys were denied again when Feldt was attempting to go over for his third, only to have the ball slapped from his grasp with desperate defence from the Tigers. 

The home side were finally able to get back on the board when a strong run from Sam McIntyre was rewarded with a try next to the posts, pushing the scores to 26-16 with Holmes back on the field and able to convert the try. 

That man was in amongst the action again, this time scoring a try of his own, with North Queensland's intensity lifting to the challenge of the Tigers. Holmes again converted the try for a 32-16 lead, giving them some breathing space once more with over 20 minutes left on the clock. 

Alex Twal Try

After some back and forth from the teams, Nanai also got a double for the Cowboys to effectively tie up the win for his side, giving them back-to-back victories, however the Tigers didn't stop trying.

Late tries to forwards Utoikamanu and Alex Twal ensured the Tigers scored more than 17 points for just the second time this season. 

In all, it was another high-scoring match between the two sides, with scores of 74-0 and 66-18 reached last season.

Match Snapshot

  • It was a mixed night for Cowboys centre Valentine Holmes, who was put on report and sent to the sin bin moments out from the halftime break for a hip drop tackle on Isaiah Papali'i who was helped from the field in the 37th minute and did not return. It will be a nervous wait for Holmes who is one of a number of Cowboys in the running to be named for the Maroons on Monday. 
  • Holmes topped the run metres with 204 and also scored a double and slotted six from seven conversions, as well as a penalty goal.
  • Wests Tigers forward David Klemmer was also put on report for a dangerous tackle. 

Drinkwater nails the 40/20

  • Wests Tigers replacement player Alex Lobb played 13 minutes after the 18th man was activated.
  • Wests Tigers scored more than 17 points in a game for the second time this season.
  • Cowboys coach Todd Payten celebrated his 100-game milestone as an NRL head coach with a win.
  • The Cowboys have now won three of their past seven games at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Play of the Game

While there were plenty of tries to choose from in the match with seven scored by the Cowboys and five from the Tigers, it was nice to see Kyle Feldt return from injury in style, setting the tone for the night with a try in the opening moments of the match. 

Kyle Feldt 1st Try

What They Said

Wests Tigers: Round 12

"We were down 20-0 at the start against a pretty good attacking side and to fight our way back to get to 20-16; I was really proud of the boys and their effort. One thing when you look at your team and what your fans want to see is, they want a team that competes every week and we're not short of effort. There's just moments in games that we need to learn how to manage a little bit better, and if I'm being honest, that's probably on me because, we focus on a lot of things, but the detail of managing a game and learning that has to come from the coach. We have got the bye next week, so I'll do everything I can to have a look at what's going good for us and what needs improvements, but at the end of the day, it's on me.” - Wests Tigers coach Benji Marshall

Cowboys: Round 12

"I think some of our good patches are very good and then we extended those longer than we have this season and then we still have got some bad patches that we've got to eradicate." - Cowboys coach Todd Payten

“We just wanted to get back into doing the right parts of the game well, and we knew that if we could kick well and put the Tigers back coming out of their own end, we could get the momentum back and that is was what was said that was our main focus with trying to win it back. - Cowboys co-captain Tom Dearden

What's Next

The Cowboys travel to Sydney to take on the Origin-depleted Roosters on Sunday in the final game of Round 13 and are also likely to be missing a number of their stars. 

Wests Tigers have the bye and will return to action in the first game of Round 14 when they face the Dragons in Wollongong with Brent Naden and Justin Olam to return from suspension.

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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