Emphatic round 5 victory at home
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have not conceded a point at 1300SMILES Stadium for 160 minutes after a 36-0 shutout of the St George Illawarra Dragons returned the side to the winner’s circle tonight.
After a 40-0 rout of the Roosters in round 3, the Cowboys were clinical in dispatching the Dragons in tonight’s round 5 encounter to have the side three wins from their opening five matches.
Two tries in each half and some clinical Thurston goal-kicking – the maestro having missed just two attempts in 2016 – combined for the emphatic win as Javid Bowen had an NRL debut to remember, scoring the side’s fourth try in the 57th minute after a magical Lachlan Coote inside pass.
Bowen was far from out of place as a replacement for the injured Kane Linnett (shoulder) and combined well with winger Antonio Winterstein on the left edge, with the veteran winger having his best game of the season.
The Cowboys, after controlling early play well, took 24 minutes to get on the scoreboard as Gavin Cooper poached a try from dummy-half.
With the struggling Dragons completing at below 60 per cent, the home side had the run of play and put an exclamation mark on the opening 40 with a sublime try to Kyle Feldt who showed great wheels to ground a pinpoint Thurston cross-field kick.
Hardworking prop Scott Bolton crossed 13 minutes into the second half as the Cowboys enjoyed a slight possession advantage throughout the game.
Feldt would cross for his second in the 69th minute as a Thurston bomb was spilled and Michael Morgan set up the co-captain for his fifth successful conversion for the night.
Having a night out with his all-of-field kicking game, Thurston then put the ball on a string for centre Justin O’Neill as the match quickly turned into a rout.
The Cowboys 20-14 round 1 win over the Sharks remains the only points conceded in Townsville in season 2016.
NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS 36 (Kyle Feldt 2, Gavin Cooper, Scott Bolton, Javid Bowen, Justin O’Neill tries; Johnathan Thurston 6 goals) def ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 0 at 1300SMILES Stadium. Crowd: 17,444.