A North Queensland Toyota Cowboys side packed with Grand Final winners has swamped the Newcastle Knights 28-12 in the first match of the Rangitoto Pool at the Downer NRL Auckland Nines.
Brilliant youngster Gideon Gela-Mosby scored the opening try for the Cowboys when a deft offload further infield by Lachlan Coote created an overlap to the left.
Justin O'Neill cashed in on a similar overlap on the Cowboys' opposite flank to stretch the advantage to 10-0.
Coote then sent his skipper Gavin Cooper over as the Cowboys went left again.
A brilliant short restart and regather from Michael Morgan sent club legend Matty Bowen streaking down the left flank and handed Gela-Mosby his second to complete a crushing 18-0 first-half performance from North Queensland.
Bowen traipsed over early in the second to the temporary delight of the crowd before cheekily handing the ball back to Cooper in-goal to improve the scoring position.
Bowen said his selfless try assist was part of the Cowboys' plan to aim for five-point tries in the bonus zone between the goal posts.
"We spoke about him scoring in the paint, so I decided to give him one under the goal posts," Bowen said.
"It was good to get out there with the boys and I am really enjoying it."
The Knights finally got on the board via a deft grubber from big prop Korbin Sims for young half Brock Lamb to score.
Danny Levi then barged over to make it back-to-back converted tries for the Knights.
Right on the stroke of full-time an early try-of-the-weekend started with a John Asiata chip before a brilliant Morgan regather and offload to Asiata who found Cooper in support for his hat-trick and a 28-12 win.
Levi admitted the Knights had plenty to work on after the defeat.
"We didn't really touch the ball for the first five minutes, we did finish off well but we need to start better," Levi said.
"It's just an attitude thing really, coming out we need a lot better attitude."
Cowboys 28 (Cooper 3, Gela-Mosby 2, O'Neill tries) def. Knights 12 (Lamb, Levi tries)
First published on NRL.com as Nines favourites Cowboys smash Knights