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North Queensland have secured their seventh away win of the season to stay outright second on the Telstra Premiership ladder following a 34-8 victory over the Dragons on Sunday.

It was the first time in almost 20 years the Cowboys beat the Dragons in Kogarah with forwards Jason Taumalolo and Jeremiah Nanai outstanding in the win.

The visitors held a 10-8 lead early before Taumalolo sent Griffin Neame over under the sticks in the 58th minute to push the visitors' lead to eight. 

A further two tries to Nanai and Scott Drinkwater, who both finished with doubles, ensured the side's 14th win of the year.

Earlier, back-to-back tries to Drinkwater and Kyle Feldt in the first half set up an eight-point advantage before the Dragons struck back through Jack de Belin to make the match evenly poised after 40 minutes.

Taumalolo puts Neame over

The Cowboys welcomed back Reuben Cotter from a hamstring injury that left him out of Queensland's last two Origin matches with the dynamic lock playing his part in rotation with Taumalolo.

Dragons coach Anthony Griffin opted to use Moses Mbye at fullback with Tyrell Sloan coming off the interchange but the rookie didn't get on the field until the game was well and truly gone.

Match snapshot

  • The Cowboys' win was their first at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium since 2003. They've now won three out of 10 at the venue.
  • The Dragons have now lost eight of 11 games this season against current top eight teams.
  • Dragons forward Jaydn Su'A was placed on report in the second half for a hair pull on Luciano Leilua. 
  • Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt picked up a hamstring injury in the victory. 
  • Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo was placed on report for a shoulder charge on Blake Lawrie in the 63rd minute. 
  • Jeremiah Nanai scored his 15th and 16th tries of the season, the most by a Cowboys forward in their club history. 
  • Dragons forward Josh McGuire was the next to be placed on report in the 72nd minute.

Play of the game

Valentine Holmes has found a home at left centre this season and continues to go from strength to strength. His effort to come back on the inside and find Scott Drinkwater among the highlights of the second half.

Drinkwater slices through like an arrow

What they said

"I was pleased with a lot of it, when we had the ball and when we didn't have the ball. I challenged the lads to play our way and they did that tonight. I've learnt a bit about our team over the last 6-10 weeks around the type of language we use. We've got a really talented and excitable group. We play our best when we move the ball but we have to be clear around what that looks like." - Cowboys coach Todd Payten.

"I thought even with 15 to go at 16-8 we had our opportunity to get back into it. We didn't get much out of our first half. We had opportunity to be in front at half-time and they got a couple of tries back-to-back. It was the story of the night, then they got three back-to-back in the last 15 minutes defensively for us." - Dragons coach Anthony Griffin.

NRL Press Conference: Dragons v Cowboys - Round 20, 2022

What's next

St George Illawarra will head to PointsBet Stadium in round 21 for a blockbuster local derby against the Sharks next Saturday night. 

The Cowboys will travel to Bundaberg for an away trip against the high-flying Bulldogs. 

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.

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