Three of the newcomers in the Toyota Cowboys’ NRL squad crossed for tries as North Queensland started their 2014 pre-season campaign with a convincing 32-8 win against Brisbane at a packed Dolphin Oval in Redcliffe tonight.
Hooker Cameron King darted over from dummy-half in the first half and Patrick Kaufusi and Zac Santo from the Cowboys NYC program added tries in the second 40 as the Cowboys outscored their Queensland rivals by six tries to two.
It was the perfect start to coach Paul Green’s career in charge of North Queensland and came with the added bonus of no significant injuries affecting his 22-man squad.
As is customary in the opening trial of the season, both teams made a multitude of changes and after an even first 20 minutes, it was the Cowboys who took control with their back-row combination of Jason Taumalolo and Tariq Sims leading the way.
After new Broncos face Daniel Vidot opened the scoring by crossing in the right corner, a short ball from halfback Robert Lui put a storming Taumalolo in for North Queensland’s first try of 2014.
Lachlan Coote’s conversion gave the Cowboys a lead they didn’t relinquish.
Sims snared the first of a double after the first water break before King came on and made an almost instant impact with his scamper over from 10 metres out, building the lead to 16-4.
Triallist Doug Hewitt almost added the Cowboys’ fourth try early in the second half but it wasn’t long until the lead was boosted by another four points thanks to a barging effort from Kaufusi, who had entered the fray for the first time only minutes before.
Green rotated players through several positions as the match wore on.
After starting at hooker, Anthony Mitchell ended up sharing the dummy-half duties with King and Rory Kostjasyn, while Michael Morgan, in his first match back from off-season shoulder surgery, spent time in the centres and halves.
Curtis Rona and Javid Bowen, who both played the full 80 minutes, alternated between wing and centre, while each member of the forward pack saw at least half an hour of playing time.
The Cowboys conceded just one more try in the 58th minute to Jayden Nikorima and wrapped up a stylish victory with two more of their own – Santo off a Lui pass and Sims thanks to a neat Mitchell grubber-kick from close to the line on the final tackle.
Cowboys 32 (T Sims 2, Taumalolo, King, Kaufusi, Santo tries; Coote, Feldt 3 goals) def. Broncos 8 (Vidot, J Nikorima tries) at Dolphin Oval, Redcliffe.