The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have slumped to a fourth straight National Youth Competition loss after the second-placed Cronulla Sharks overwhelmed them in the second half tonight.
The 40-24 result came after the visiting Cowboys led 14-0 early in the first half, trailed 16-14 at the break and led 24-16 with 25 minutes left, only to be overwhelmed in the final quarter of the match.
A classy double to NRL-contracted fullback Kalyn Ponga and a four-pointer on debut to back-rower Brett Anderson gave NQ a dream start as the team looked to reverse a worrying three-game losing streak.
But the Sharks have been averaging well over 30 points a match and soon found their scoring groove to lead at the break.
When Cowboys flyers Michael Carroll and Nathan Traill crossed early in the second, it looked as if Aaron Payne’s men were on track for a big NYC scalp.
But with halfback Jake Clifford (groin), Calum Gahan (ill) and Corey Horsburgh (stretchered off) all on the sidelines, the Sharks had too much running in them and raced in four second-half tries to post an eighth win of the season.
The six-win, five-loss Cowboys now get a weekend to regroup during the bye before hosting the Titans in Round 13.
CRONULLA SHARKS NYC 40 (Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga 2, Sione Katoa 2, William Kennedy, Eddie Faalua, Zachary Faulkner tries; Kyle Flanagan 6 goals) def NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS NYC 24 (Kalyn Ponga 2, Brett Anderson, Michael Carroll, Nathan Traill tries; Ponga, Carroll goals) at Southern Cross Group Stadium.