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Aaron Payne’s under-20s North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have again sent a strong signal to the rest of the National Youth Competition with a clinical 40-16 dismantling of two-time champions and the second-placed Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium tonight.

Leading 18-10 at the break after the hosts scored two late-half tries, the Cowboys were rampant in the second, piling on four more tries in the eight-tries-to-three wins.

The Cowboys’ back five were outstanding, with livewire fullback Kalyn Ponga posting a hat-trick, including two long-range efforts on kick returns.

The win puts the Cowboys into fourth on the NYC ladder with 13 wins for 30 competition points.

Their next opponent is the competition-leading Sharks in Townsville next Saturday.

NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS NYC 40 (Kalyn Ponga 3, Michael Carroll, Kurt Wiltshire, Sam Murphy, Enari Tuala, Ryan Lloyd tries; Jake Clifford 4 goals) def PENRITH PANTHERS NYC 16 (Dean Blore, Daniel Brown, Reed Izzard tries; Dean Blore 2 goals) at Pepper Stadium.

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.