The NYC Cowboys won their second away match, and third overall, for 2014 when they outlasted Manly 30-16 at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford tonight.
In a contest that featured five lead changes, North Queensland scored the final three tries to move to equal eighth place on the under-20s ladder three games into the Easter round.
Like the Cowboys, Manly came into round seven with a 2-4 win-loss record and they cashed in first with second-rower Leonati Feiloakitua taking two Cowboys defenders across the line in the fifth minute after the Sea Eagles had forced a repeat set.
It didn’t take long for North Queensland to hit back.
Skipper Jack Kelleher produced an effort almost identical to Feiloakitua’s and Corey Jensen added the conversion to put the Cowboys 6-4 up after 10.
A couple of forward passes denied the Cowboys tries to Scott Schulte and Samsen O’Neill, and Schulte and Coen Hess were held up over the line in the middle of another period of sustained NQ attack that didn’t end up producing any more points.
Eventually the Cowboys paid for their inability to turn their sizeable possession and territory advantage into a bigger lead.
Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic scrambled over on the back of a stripping penalty two metres out with the conversion giving the Eagles a 10-6 advantage.
However it was the Cowboys who led at half time thanks to a slashing angled run by interchange forward Viliame Kikau in the 37th minute that was followed a kick from the sideline by Jensen.
There were three near-misses in the first five minutes of the second 40 – two by the Eagles and one from the Cowboys – before Manly posted the half’s first points via interchange forward Rhys Armstrong.
It was a 50-metre catch and run by five-eighth Aaron Solari that led to Cowboys’ next try, sparking the surge that carried them to victory.
Hooker Josh Chudleigh was the man to capitalise on Solari’s break, going by himself to bring NQ level at 16-all with 20 to go.
The fifth lead change came not long after, with Alex Grant weaving his way over from dummy-half before Jensen added the extras, and they made it three straight four-pointers when Samsen O’Neill took a Kelleher pass after a scrum win and ran 40 metres untouched to the line.
A Jensen penalty goal put NQ out by more than two converted tries, finishing off the Eagles.