All 13 North Queensland Toyota Cowboys players involved in the weekend’s representative round of matches have returned to Townsville looking forward to resuming club commitments this weekend.
Starting with Friday’s Trans-Tasman Test between Australia and New Zealand at Newcastle’s Hunter Stadium, all five players involved in the match – Kangaroos Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, James Tamou and Michael Morgan, plus Kiwis enforcer Jason Taumalolo – got through the match without injury as the Aussies triumphed 16-0 in a stop-start affair that Thurston described as “scrappy”.
Props Scott and Tamou got through plenty of work for the Kangaroos: Scott made 135m from 12 carries and effected 22 tackles in 46 minutes of playing time; Tamou had 140m from his 13 carries, and 14 tackles in 32 minutes on the field.
Kiwi counterpart Taumalolo played 47 minutes, made 123m from 13 carries, with 31 tackles.
In the backs, Thurston played the full 80 minutes, making 16 tackles and a line break; Morgan played 34 minutes off the bench, making 12 tackles, and effecting a try assist and a line-break assist.
At Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium on Saturday, Cowboys under-20s players Coen Hess (Australia) and Brandon Smith (New Zealand) went from teammates to adversaries as the Junior Kangaroos triumphed 34-20 over the Junior Kiwis.
Back-rower Hess made an impressive 31 tackles – equal second-best for his team – and made 94m off eight runs in a busy display that included four tackle busts.
Hooker Smith was a standout in a losing team, making a team-high 154m from 10 carries, a whopping 11 tackle busts, three line breaks and 21 tackles.
Later that evening at Pirtek, Cowboys trio Antonio Winterstein, John Asiata (both Samoa) and Patrick Kaufusi (Tonga) played in a Pacific Test, with Samoa emerging 18-6 victors.
Winger Winterstein scored Samoa’s opening try and made 129m from 14 runs, including three tackle busts.
Interchange forward Asiata made 64m from six runs (one tackle bust) plus 14 tackles.
For Tonga, Kaufusi made 55m from six runs and 16 tackles.
On the Sunday, Tamworth’s Scully Park put on a wonderful afternoon of rugby league for the annual New South Wales City v Country clash, won by City 44-30 in a high-scoring and entertaining affair.
Cowboys duo Kane Linnett (winger) and Rory Kostjasyn lined up for the Country team.
Linnett made 15 runs for 172m while Kostjasyn made an equal team-high 24 tackles.
Also played on the Sunday – at Brisbane’s Langlands Park – was the annual Queensland v NSW Residents match, with Cowboys-contracted fullback Jahrome Hughes putting in a spirited display in a losing side.
Hughes scored a try in the 30-16 loss, but left the field in the 32nd minute with concussion.
He will go through the standard protocols this week as he looks to return to Intrust Super Cup duty with the Townsville Blackhawks.
The Cowboys will this week prepare to take on the Melbourne Storm in Round 10 NRL action, the game the first act in Saturday’s double-header at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
Photos from Cowboys physio Steve Sartori's collection:
Main image: Teammates Michael Morgan & Jason Taumalolo
Bottom: Michael Morgan with the Trans-Tasman Trophy