Maybe Robbie Farah should play milestone games more often after the Wests Tigers virtually ended the Cowboys' season with a 28-4 win at Leichhardt Oval on Thursday night.
Since he’s scored tries in both his 300th and now 301st game – and enjoyed a 150th career win tonight – it seems a pity Farah announced his retirement during the week.
Just to show what they thought of their gladiator-like No.9 the crowd began to chant ‘Robbie, Robbie’ instead of the usual ‘Tigers, Tigers’.
Queensland fans will need to start chanting ‘Broncos, Broncos’ if they want representation in the 2019 finals series.
From 13th on the ladder the Cowboys would need to win all five remaining games to reach 26 points. And they have the Broncos, Panthers and Storm in their path making that mission seem impossible.
Match: Wests Tigers v Cowboys
Round 20 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
The Tigers, meanwhile, are keeping the dream alive. They are on 20 points and with the five-tries-to-one win, they will move into seventh spot pushing the Broncos out of the top eight and the Panthers to eighth spot. Obviously the remaining seven games of round 20 might cause some reshuffling.
But Michael Maguire would have liked the commitment and line speed of his players, alongside the creativity of Benji Marshall and the kicking game of Luke Brooks.
However, it was their long-serving hooker they all came to see. He had his name up in lights at the harbour-end of the ground.
Farah began the game by charging down a kick in the opening Cowboys set – so his intentions for the night were clear.
Considering television commentators were broadcasting that the only player in the Cowboys line-up to win at Leichhardt was former Storm forward Jordan McLean, it was never going to be the visitors' night. They hadn’t won at the venue since 2000.
And chances of breaking that hoodoo looked slim when the Tigers raced in for three first-half tries – Esan Marsters (10th), Farah (18th) and Paul Momirovski (22nd) – to lead 16-0 after 20 minutes. That remained the half-time score.
The Cowboys were denied two possible tries – a Michael Morgan pass in the fifth minute was ruled forward to Shane Wright, and then an obstruction by Wright denied Kyle Feldt a four-pointer in the 31st.
Coupled with a first-half completion rate of just 67 percent and Paul Green’s men looked they were in for a long night.
Feldt finally got his seventh try of the season as the Cowboys worked their way along the line until the never-say-die winger planted the ball to little applause in the north-eastern corner. Cowboys fans were scarce in the 10,016-strong crowd.
With 16 minutes left the Cowboys needed to score three more times but instead it was Marsters crossing for his second off a piece of Marshall magic and Chris Lawrence grabbing his first try of the season to blow the lead out.
Skipper Michael Morgan looked rusty in his first game since Origin III and fellow senior players Jake Clifford and Gavin Cooper also made fundamental errors as the Cowboys slumped to their 12th loss of the season..
It is home to Townsville now to face the Broncos next Thursday at 1300Smiles Stadium.
The Tigers need to keep winning and head to ANZ Stadium to face the Bulldogs.