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Photo: Grant Trouville © NRL Photos

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have been outclassed and out-muscled by the 15th-placed Sydney Roosters 22-10 to suffer their third-straight loss and stay stuck on 28 competition points in today’s Round 23 clash at Allianz Stadium.

Trailling 16-4 at the break, the Cowboys had their spirit broken with a 49th-minute try to flying winger Latrell Mitchell to blow the score out to 22-4 after the talented outside back saluted from out wide.

Completing at over 80 per cent but missing a mountain of tackles and not running with authority for the full 80 minutes, the Cowboys did threaten to re-enter the contest when Kane Linnett crossed in the 64th minute.

That proved a false dawn as the home side – searching for just their fifth win of the season – held firm.

With three straight losses and five wins from their past 12 games, the Cowboys’ next three opponents are the Warriors (home), Bulldogs (away) and Titans (home) with all three matches having serious ramifications for the final eight.

The visitors started strongly with a trademark right-edge try to back-rower Ethan Lowe – his seventh of the year – and the North Queenslanders looked to shake off last week’s sluggish performance against West Tigers.

But tries to Ryan Matterson (21st minute), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (28th) and Boyd Cordner (38th) gave the Roosters a huge fillip heading into the break as Cowboys head coach Paul Green rallied his troops ahead of the second 40.

But Mitchell’s four-pointer put more scoreboard pressure on the Cowboys, who were much improved in the second half – the hosts proved themselves accomplished frontrunners and controlled the tempo of the game with savvy field position and gritty goalline defence.

SYDNEY ROOSTERS 22 (Ryan Matterson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Boyd Cordner, Latrell Mitchell tries; Mitchell 3 goals) def NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS 10 (Ethan Lowe, Kane Linnett tries; Johnathan Thurston goal) at Allianz Stadium. Crowd: 8760.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.