The NYC Cowboys’ hopes of back-to-back home wins to start the 2014 season were crushed by a landslide of NZ Warriors points at 1300SMILES Stadium tonight.
Desperate to end a two-game losing streak which included their defence conceding 90 points, the Warriors showcased their attacking game in a 50-12 demolition of North Queensland.
The Cowboys were outscored 28-0 after half time to slump to their worst ever under-20s loss against the New Zealanders.
Both centre David Fusitua and five-eighth Tuimoala Lolohea, who were back in the Warriors NYC lineup after being on senior duties last week – Fusitua in the Warriors’ NRL squad and Junior Kiwi Lolohea with their NSW Cup squad – collected hat-tricks amongst their team’s nine tries.
After they registered first points via a solo try to halfback Delayne Ashby just three minutes in, the Cowboys’ defence was shredded by four quick tries by the Warriors.
Opposing No.7 Mason Lino started the NZ blitz with his own individual effort and the Warriors continued to cash in down their left via a double to Fusitua and another four-pointer from a rebound to Lolohea.
Down 22-6, the Cowboys applied some pressure in the final 10 minutes of the first half but were unable to eat into the lead until hooker Josh Chudleigh swivelled his way across with 10 seconds left on the clock.
Corey Jensen’s conversion left the half-time margin at 10, a difference that probably flattered North Queensland with the Warriors blowing a couple of other clear-cut scoring opportunities.
However, any chance the Cowboys had of a fightback in the second 40 disappeared within a few minutes of the restart thanks to three quickfire NZ tries.
With half an hour still to go, Lolohea and Fusitua had both registered their hat-tricks and the Warriors’ lead had escalated to 38-12.
Fusitua would have had a fourth but for a late desperate dive from Cowboys fullback Alex Grant which forced the ball free as the centre was about to touch down after another long-range Warriors raid.
Impressive almost every time he had the ball, Lolohea threw the last pass for the Warriors’ fourth try of the half, again down their left, to winger Metia Lisati and the Warriors ended the night as they started, with a try to co-captain Lino.
In a dismal 40 minutes for North Queensland, interchange hooker Dan Clarke came close to going over from dummy-half in the 67th minute and starting debutante Viliame Kikau made a rare Cowboys break with eight to go only to be cut down 20 metres out.