Cowboys still on track for finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys still on track for finals

14/08/2004 11:29:58 PM Comments (0)

It may have taken them 60 minutes, but the North Queensland Cowboys showed they are still genuine National Rugby League finals contenders with a 36-22 victory over a spirited South Sydney outfit at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

A boilover looked well and truly on the cards as the Rabbitohs scored the first two tries of the second half to lead 22-14, when the Cowboys' mortgage on a historic finals berth looked decidedly shaky.

But some Matt Bowen magic and an inspirational play by part-time prop Micheal Luck provided the catalyst for four unanswered tries as the homeside finally clicked into gear for what in the end was a comprehensive victory.

The result continued North Queensland's recent dominance over the Rabbitohs with the Bunnies last beating the Cowboys back in 1999.

It also broke the head-to-head deadlock between the sides - the Cowboys have now won five, Souths four, while this year's round 10 draw rounds out the 10 clashes between the two.

The win also means the North Queenslanders, on 25 competition points, are tantalisingly close to appearing in a finals series for the first time in their 10-year history. Two out of three wins over their last three opponents in Penrith, Wests Tigers and the Sharks should see them comfortably through to the play-offs.

After early second-half tries to first grade debutant Roy Bell, who made amends for a stone-cold kick off drop in the first half, and reserve Brett Kearney, Souths were on the verge of what would have been a huge upset both in the context of this season and recent history between the clubs.

But livewire fullback Bowen in his first starting appearance in five matches, got the homeside back into the game with a typically scything run to touch down in the 60th minute.

Then in his first top grade game after two months off with a groin injury, hard-working forward Luck, charged down a Joe Williams kick, then raced the Souths halfback to the ball, wrestling it off him 15 metres out from the tryline.

Luke O'Donnell then dived over after the ensuing play-the-ball, giving the Cowboys a 26-22 lead which they built on with further tries to Josh Hannay and Ty Williams.

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