Second-half thriller in NYC
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys NYC team have produced a stunning second half to overrun last year's minor premiers the Newcastle Knights 40-22 and continue their winning start to the season.
Coach Todd Payten’s boys put on seven second-half tries – Scott Schulte and Cohen Hess with doubles – and held the visitors to nil as they bounced back from a 22-8 half-time deficit.
Off the back of an early penalty, the Knights rolled up the field with Daniel Saifiti unstoppable with the ball as he opened the scoring in the fourth minute.
A dropped ball from the kick handed the Cowboys perfect position and from the first tackle they sent it wide with Yamba Bowie combining with Scott Schulte to go over untouched and level it only a minute later.
It was becoming tit-for-tat with tries as the Knights again got an easy passage up the field.
Australian Schoolboys half Brock Lamb proved too quick for the Cowboys defence as he put them 6 in front.
The home side were again camped on their line as the pressure built from the visitors.
Their one-out play from the ruck continued to trouble them as their prop Josh King bagged his first.
Lapses in disclipline and mistakes close to their line had the Cowboys on the back foot, and last year’s minor premiers continued to rack up the points with their fourth try of the half to be up 22-4.
The deficit was reduced at the 33rd minute mark as Conor Carey squirmed his way through a pack of Knights to make it 22-8.
There were more positive signs in attack straight after the break, as the Cowboys worked their way downfield with some nice ballwork inside.
After his two-try effort last week, Braden Uele again got over the stripe to reduce the margin to 10.
They looked in trouble when Viliame Kikau charged down the kick on Newcastle's last but Brock Lamb regathered to run 20 metres before Conor Carey got back in defence to intercept the five-eighth’s pass.
It was a totally different Cowboys outfit that ran out in the second half as they put on three tries in succession to level it at 22-all.
Scott Schulte’s second made it 22-20 before Cohen Hess converted the try to make it 22-22.
Newcastle were unable to keep up with the Cowboys' exuberance as Brandon Smith out-foxed the defence at dummy-half to twist over and hand the North Queensland boys the lead for the first time in the match.
The Cowboys showed plenty of desperation in defence, as Bowie held out a certain try with 10 minutes to go on the clock.
Hess then showed some toe to scoot down the right-hand touchline and find Ty Carucci to put them up by 8 with 8 on the clock.
Hess bagged himself a double as the home side made it two from two in front of their members and fans.
COWBOYS 40 (tries Scott Schulte 2, Cohen Hess 2, Conor Carey, Braden Uele, Brandon Smith, Ty Carucci, Ross Bella; conversions Hess 2/4, Bambling 1/4)
KNIGHTS 22 (tries Daniel Safiti, Brock Lamb, Bradie Smith, Luke Yates)