The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys under-20s have notched up back-to-back victories in the National Youth Competition with a clinical 38-6 win over Manly at 1300SMILES Stadium tonight.
The young Cowboys scored seven tries to one to back up their round 11 win (24-14) over Wests Tigers last weekend, with halfback Cooper Bambling the architect in the victory in setting up a try with a pinpoint kick and scoring a sensational solo try of his own.
The Cowboys took a while to get into the match, with the opening 10 minutes played in the middle 60m of the field as penalties to each side kept field position on an even keel.
But it only took several more minutes for the Cowboys to gain the ascendancy as winger Scott Schulte, who bagged a double for the night, found the tryline after prop Viliame Kikau made an incisive run the play before.
Looking more threatening with each set, Todd Payten’s young charges continued to break tackles with ball in hand before lock and captain Kieran Quabba showed great awareness to sneak over from dummy half in the 24th minute to make it 8-0, then 10-0 as Bambling steered over the conversion for the first of an individual points haul of 14.
Nine minutes later, a crossfield kick was launched for speedy winger Gideon Mosby to cross.
The conversion was unsuccessful and the Cowboys led 14-0 with half time approaching.
They weren’t quite done though as that man Bambling went to the air with a deft kick, finding centre Conor Carey for a well-constructed try.
A successful conversion had the home side going into the sheds with a commanding 20-0 lead.
Manly came out with more purpose in the second half, and benefited from early possession and good field position.
The Cowboys strengthened their resolve and stole metres en route to big bench prop Braden Uele, diving over after a deft inside pass.
The kick was good and the Cowboys were in full control at 26-0 up.
The visitors’ first and only try came soon after as fullback Nicholas Hynes crossed and the kick made it 26-6.
That again sparked the Cowboys into action and Schulte crossed in the corner for his second try, Bambling potting the extras to see the home side into match-winning position, 32-6 up inside the final 10 minutes.
Bambling then put the exclamation mark on a stellar match with a clean break in the final minutes.
The Manly defence caught him metres out from the tryline, but the young half showed great strength to stay upright, swivel and slam the ball down for a final try, the Cowboys’ seventh.
He then piloted a wobbly kick over to seal an emphatic victory that entrenches the team well inside the top four.
The win was even more impressive given Payten was without back-rower Coen Hess, with Bill Cullen providing plenty of strong runs in the middle.
Kikau was a constant threat with ball in hand also.
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys 38 (Scott Schulte 2, Gideon Mosby, Conor Carey, Kieran Quabba, Braden Uele, Cooper Bambling tries; Bambling 5 goals) def Manly Sea Eagles 6 (Nicholas Hynes try; Hugh Pratt goal) at 1300SMILES Stadium.