Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v North Queensland Cowboys
North Queensland came back from a 14 point deficit to defeat Manly Warringah 28-26 in a thrilling and thrilling game at 4 Pines Park.
The Cowboys suffered a cruel blow minutes before kickoff when QLD representative Reuben Cotter strained his hamstrings in the warm-up, forcing a late reshuffle and at first it seemed to work against the visitors, with the Cowboys struggling to get out of the distance against a manly team that had it. everything to play in the impasse of the final. The local team was the first to sign up as we got a taste of what was to become a theme for the competition. A nice second kick from Kieran Foran found Christian Tuipulotu full and Manly would play up front.
The twenty-fourth-minute defensive effort would have reminded Todd Payten of last year as Morgan Harper burned through the Cowboys defense before joining Reuben Garrick to lead 10-0. The kicking duels continued as North Queensland crossed for their first try just on the half hour mark when Coen Hess returned the ball allowing Chad Townsend to put it on a dime for Valentine Holmes passes. Harper may have some issues with the Game Review Committee when he appeared to take a knee on Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, the Hammer would not return after the incident as the Cowboys trailed by four at the break.
North Queensland started the second half with the better side winning the battle ahead and thrilling the Manly field who topped the top 40. It was the noble kick that saw them take the lead when Andrew Davey dropped the ball straight into Jeremiah’s bread basket. Nanai and the Cowboys led for the first time. Although their lead was cut short when Tuipulotu flew past QLD prospect Murray Taulagi to cross and reclaim the lead. Then Lachlan Croker turned the game into a dramatic three-minute stretch that started with a booming 40/20 that gave Manly full momentum. A smart Daly Cherry-Evans grubber in the ensuing set and Croker won the ball race and Manly was up eight. Another pass of second kicks led to Croker’s second when Croker chased his own kick which was nearly dropped by Josh Schuster and Croker won the run and Manly looked home and hosed himself down.
But as we know we have no doubts about the Cowboys this season and started their comeback with eight minutes left, Reece Robson was put in by Nanai and crashed on another kick and cut the margin to eight . Outside of the ensuing set, the Cowboys had a thrilling rally which saw Val Holmes link up with Taulagi who linked up with Connelly Lemuelu and the margin was reduced to two. The game ended when Nanai abandoned the kickoff, but a lack of concentration from DCE saw him hit hard by Scott Drinkwater and Val Holmes ran 90 yards to put the Cowboys ahead. Despite a last ditch effort from Manly, North Queensland held on for a famous away win.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 26 – North Queensland Cowboys 28
Location: 4 Pines Park, Brookvale
Half time score: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 10 North Queensland Cowboys 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points – Lachlan Croker
2 points – Valentine Holmes
1 point – Jason Taumalolo
MALE SEA EAGLES-WARRINGAH (26)
Try: Christian Tuipulotu (2), Reuben Garrick, Lachlan Croker (2)
Conversion: Ruben Garrick (3/5)
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (28)
Try: Valentine Holmes (2), Jeremiah Nanai, Reece Robson, Connelly Lemuelu
Conversion: Valentine Holmes (4/5)