The NYC Cowboys wasted a 14-point lead to lose 38-24 against Wests Tigers in their round six NYC match at Campbelltown Stadium tonight.
The Tigers scored three tries in the final nine minutes to beat North Queensland, who had bounded out of the blocks to lead 20-6 in the first half as they searched for their third win of the season and a return to the top eight.
After their slow starts of recent weeks, the Cowboys were able to score first this time thanks to the hard work of hooker Josh Chudleigh who found his way across in the opening 10 minutes.
They soon surrendered the lead to a runaway converted try by Lamar Liolevave, but it was a short-lived 6-4 deficit thanks to Aaron Solari who scooped up a loose ball before running 25 metres to score his first try in the under-20s.
The Cowboys were unable to add the two from either try to lead 8-6 midway through the half.
It was another Tigers error that led to North Queensland’s next four-pointer – again to Solari.
Struggling to get out of their half, the home team coughed up possession 30 metres out and after receiving a penalty in the next set, the five-eighth went by himself to extend the lead to 14-6 with Corey Jensen’s conversion.
Aided by plenty of possession flow that was 57% their way, North Queensland soon blew the gap out to 14 points.
Rookie back-rower Coen Hess produced a great charge up the middle, setting up Delayne Ashby to create a try for another young forward, Bill Cullen, in the 33rd minute.
It was almost all bad news from then on for North Queensland.
There was still enough time left in the half for Watson Heleta to touch down out wide for the Tigers and they doubled up when a 40-20 kick followed by a quick tap led to a try from John Ogden.
Mitchell Moses converted from the sideline to cut the Cowboys’ hard-earned gap to four.
After dominating the early stages after half time, the Tigers levelled up 10 minutes into the half when fullback Mason Farrell just managed to get a hand to his own grubber-kick inside the deadball line.
It was a decision the Cowboys would love to have reviewed had the NYC captain’s challenge rule been in operation.
An increasingly dangerous Moses then gave the Tigers the lead thanks to a show-and-go that sent him through NQ’s left side defence and into the corner for their fourth straight four-pointer.
The Cowboys, who only had 39% of the ball in the second 40, finally ended their drought thanks to winger Scott Schulte with 15 to go after a sustained period of pressure that included Corey Jensen being held up over the line.
It was two tries off kicks inside the final 10 minutes that finally handed the win to the Tigers.
Right winger Tom Sattherthwaite climbed over Scott Schulte to take a Moses crosskick for the first and Ogden cleaned up the scraps for the second on the other side of the park for a 34-24 lead.
In the final minute, Ogden completed his hat-trick off a contentious six-again call but the game was lost by then.