North Queensland’s inability to turn their pressure into points again proved costly in an 18-16 loss to Cronulla in the round 25 NYC match at Brothers in Townsville tonight.
It was the second week in a row that the young Cowboys have kept their opponents to under 20 points, but with their attack spluttering, they’ve only come up with four tries in 160 minutes of football.
There was no lack of effort from the Cowboys who stuck at their job and almost snatched a draw in the final minute with Scott Schulte scoring out wide after Jared Verney nailed a 40-20 kick with 55 seconds on the clock.
Corey Jensen’s conversion attempt to level up narrowly missed to the left, leaving NQ with their second two-point loss of the season against Cronulla.
Trying to win for the first time in three weeks, the Cowboys took just three minutes to open the scoring with slick hands from Yamba Bowie allowing Conor Carey to score in the left corner.
Unfortunately for the home side, Jensen’s conversion from the sideline ended up being their last points of the half.
Cronulla were level thanks to dangerous centre Jamayne Isaako, who finished off a last-tackle move, and had the lead soon after when Joshua Addo-Carr benefited from NQ’s inability to control a high ball.
The Sharks’ third try came from their right winger, Finlay Dibley, who shrugged off some poor defence to score in the 33rd minute.
North Queensland spent plenty of time inside the Sharks’ 20-metre zone before and after half time with Lenny Magey coming closest to scoring when he was held up over the line on the final tackle.
Viliame Kikau had a possible four-pointer denied by referee Belinda Sleeman for a double-movement and the Cowboys ended up conceding the first try of the half – a second for Dibley – with 20 to go.
Switched back to fullback with Verney, who was battling an ankle injury, moved to the halves, Bowie brought the deficit back to just one converted try inside the final 15 minutes.
The 12th-placed Cowboys will end their season with a home game against Manly next Saturday night.