The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys under-20s have returned to the winner’s circle in spectacular fashion against the Newcastle Knight this afternoon, routing the visitors 66-16 at 1300SMILES Stadium.
The Cowboys scored 12 tries, and nine successful conversions brought up the home team’s final score of 66, while the Knights scored 3 tries, taking 55 minutes to register their first points.
The effort from the young Cowboys will come as a relief to coach Aaron Payne, after his team drew with the Dragons in round 12.
The game opened with a 13-minute arm-wrestle, both sides playing football in the middle of the field.
It took two seven-tackle sets for the Cowboys to crack the Knights, and they did so with Gideon Gela-Mosby running down the right-side wing, scoring off a pass from centre Nathan Traill.
The unsuccessful conversion from Cooper Bambling left the scores at 4-0.
It only took Gela-Mosby another four minutes to get his second try, almost identical to the first, once again scoring in the corner. The kick was unsuccessful, leaving the scores at 8-nil, 19 minutes in.
The Cowboys continued to play at the Knights’ end of the field, but poor execution stopped them from converting field position into points.
The visitors were struggling to get out of their own half, as fast line speed and bruising defence denied the Knights any opportunity to attack the Cowboys’ line.
Their woes were compounded by poor kicks in play, one of which resulted in another seven-tackle set.
Gela-Mosby saw a gaping hole at dummy half, and decided to run the ball, from 30 metres out. His speed and footwork had the Knights tripping over, as he scored his third in the left corner. Bambling’s kick from the sideline was successful, bringing the score to 14-0.
The Knights made it to the Cowboys’ end with four minutes left to play, but continued pressure forced an error on the 40-metre line, denying the Knights’ only opportunity in 30 minutes of football.
The Cowboys responded immediately, with Marcus Jensen swooping on a low, cross-field kick from the boot of Bambling, to score under the posts. The conversion was successful, bringing the score to 20-nil in favour of the Cowboys.
It was improbable that the Cowboys would change the score in the minute they had left, but the soft defence of the Knights, and hard running from Coen Hess and hooker Brandon Smith put them in prime position for Jensen to make it a double on the wing, and he made no mistake. The unsuccessful kick left the score at 24-nil at half time.
The Cowboys restarted the second half, and it only took them two sets to force an error.
The Knights fullback couldn’t handle Ty Carucci’s bomb, and Coen Hess ran through to ground the ball just before the dead-ball line. Bambling converted the try to bring the Cowboys’ lead to 30-0 in the 43rd minute.
A driving tackle from no less than four Cowboys shortly after forced a Knights error, giving the Cowboys the loose-headed feed 10 metres out from the Knights line.
The Cowboys capitalised off the scrum, with Michael Carroll scoring on the edge on debut. The kick was successful, bringing the score to 36-0.
Carroll decided one wasn’t enough, and streaked away to score on the opposite side of the field. Bambling converted successfully, and with 30 minutes left to play the score was 42-0.
The Cowboys kept the points rolling, with Carroll breaking away down the sideline, to kick back across field for Hess to take his second try of the afternoon. The successful kick brought the score to 48-nil, with another 26 minutes left in the match.
The Knights registered points in the 55th minute, with winger Brayden Musgrave crossing the line out wide off a backline movement. The kick from Jake McNamara was unsuccessful, and the scores remained at 48-4.
Bambling joined the parade of Cowboys tries, diving on another crossfield kick, this time from the other winger, Marcus Jensen. Bambling converted his own try, bringing the score to 54-4, with 20 minutes left to play.
The Knights scored their second of the afternoon, with Dean Kouka-Smith running away down the sideline. The kick was successful, bringing the scores to 54-8, 64 minutes into the contest.
The Cowboys responded immediately, with hooker Brandon Smith running from dummy half close to the line and barging over.
The successful conversion brought the score to 60-0 with 11 minutes to play. The Knights scored their third through prop Tyrone Amey, and the successful conversion brought the score to 60-16 in the 75th minute.
The Cowboys would have the last laugh, as Jensen brought up his hat-trick just before the full-time siren. The successful kick brought the final score to 66-16.
The win gives the young Cowboys 19 competition points with nine wins, three losses and a draw, the team elevated to second on the NYC ladder.
NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS 66 (Gideon Gela-Mosby 3, Marcus Jensen 3, Coen Hess 2, Michael Carroll 2, Cooper Bambling, Brandon Smith tries; Cooper Bambling 9 goals) def NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 14 (Dean Kouka-Smith, Brayden Musgrove, Tyrone Amey tries; Jake McNamara 2 goals) at 1300SMILES Stadium.