The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys under-20s have been brought crashing back down to earth after being dealt a rugby league lesson by a rampaging Parramatta Eels outfit at 1300SMILES Stadium tonight.
The 60-12, 11 tries-to-two loss was the young Cowboys’ second of the year and came wholly against type – Aaron Payne’s young charges had won their past two matches by a combined margin of 76 points and were well entrenched inside the top two.
But you’re only as good as your last game and the visiting Eels were on fire from the get-go, scoring within the first five minutes and maintaining field position and ball control to race to 32-0 by the half-time break.
The hosts steadied slightly in the second as hooker Calum Gahan and centre Kurt Wiltshire saluted, but the Eels were relentless, scoring several more tries to hand the side their biggest defeat in a number of years.
Pre-game, coach Aaron Payne identified brutish winger Greg Leleisuao as one real threat for his side.
However, identifying something and containing it are two different beasts and the giant flanker steamrolled in a hat-trick of tries, giving opposing winger Murray Taulagi a hellish night at the office.
The Cowboys were dealt a first-half blow as classy halfback Jake Clifford left the field with a groin tear, the in-form pivot not taking any further part in the match.
While they would be disappointed with a poor showing in front of their home members and fans, the young Cowboys get the chance to atone next weekend when they head to the Gold Coast to take on the Titans in the Round Four match postponed from earlier in the year.
Parramatta Eels 60 (Tries: Greg Leleisiuao (3), John Fonua (2), Anthony Layoun, Dean Matterson, Dane Aukafolau, Kamren Cryer, Mitch Butfield, Frank Salu; Goals: Kamren Cryer 8/11) def North Queensland Toyota Cowboys 12 (Tries: Calum Gahan, Kurt Wiltshire, Goals: Michael Carroll 2/2).