The Cowboys’ fairytale run continues
The North Queensland Cowboys are just one game away from the 2017 NRL Grand Final after upsetting the Parramatta Eels 24-16 in Sydney last Saturday night.
Heavy favourites heading into the match, Parramatta received the perfect start when Semi Radradra plucked a Te Maire Martin kick from the air and raced 100m to score one of the all-time classic finals tries.
Kyle Feldt responded for the Cowboys in the 11th minute with a superb put-down in the corner after great lead-up work from Lachlan Coote and Kane Linnett. Ethan Lowe’s sideline conversion levelled the scores as the Cowboys found their groove.
With so much on the line, neither team gave an inch in defence. It took another long-range effort to break the deadlock in the 31st minute - this time it was Eels fullback Will Smith who pounced on a loose ball and raced 80m to put the Blue and Gold Army ahead.
Despite having mixed success with the boot, the Cowboys again went to the skies in the 45th minute. This time they were rewarded with a try to John Asiata.
A huge spiral bomb from LGIAsuper Player Ambassador Michael Morgan found space between the Eels fullback and winger and the big prop collected the bounce to score his first ever NRL try.
Coen Hess shrugged off a troublesome knee injury to extend the Cowboys’ lead in the 52nd minute after a neat inside ball from Martin. Sensing an upset, North Queensland’s defence lifted a gear to keep their opponents pegged deep inside their own half.
With the crowd suddenly quiet, Morgan shoved the dagger further into the hearts of long-suffering Eels fans with a fantastic solo try in the 75th minute.
In desperate need of quick points, the Eels threw everything they had at the Cowboys only to be repelled time and time again. A consolation try to Parramatta centre Michael Jennings on the stroke of full-time proved the only blip on an otherwise superb second half performance from the visitors.
Jason Taumalolo was again brilliant for North Queensland, running for over 200 metres but the entire forward pack did a terrific job, laying the foundation for Morgan and Coote to shine.
The Cowboys return to Sydney for next week’s preliminary final against the Sydney Roosters. Stay tuned to the LGIAsuper website and social media channels for more details on the huge clash!