Thurston steers Cowboys to victory - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thurston steers Cowboys to victory

16/04/2005 10:50:12 PM Comments (0)

Johnathan Thurston trumped Scott Prince in the battle of the aspiring Queensland State-of-Origin halfbacks as the North Queensland Cowboys thumped West Tigers 44-20 in their NRL showdown in Townsville on Saturday night.

A month ago, the fixture wouldn't have rated as one of the matches of the round, but after the Tigers stunned the competition by heading into the game on the back of three-straight wins, plenty of fans turned out to watch ex-Cowboy Prince and his small but gutsy team do battle with the pride of the North.

With Queensland Origin selector Gene Miles sitting in the stands, Maroons' No.7 hopeful Thurston showed up reigning state halfback Prince with another confident performance out of position, as Graham Murray's team remains without Chris Sheppard (ankle).

And despite the Cowboys trailing 6-0 after five minutes, the 20,361 faithful had plenty to cheer about as they ran in eight tries to four, with veteran winger Matt Sing grabbing a hat-trick and his partner Brenton Bowen a double.

However, usually reserved Cowboys coach Murray was less than pleased after a lacklustre second half.

"Overall, I thought the first half was great," Murray said when asked if his measured praise was part of his responsibility as a coach, to keep striving for improvement in spite of the scoreline.

And when quizzed about what disappointed him most about the second half he replied, "There's a lot, I won't waste all your time".

When told that the rugby league media had time, Murray said, "I haven't. I think it was pretty poor the way we executed in the second half".

The Cowboys sealed the win in the first half, racing in five tries, including a double to Sing, to lead 26-6 at the main break.

But after a scrappy opening to the second half winger Daniel Fitzhenry gave the Tigers reason to hope for a comeback, the try coming after Cowboys captain Paul Rauhihi was penalised for tackling Tigers playmaker Scott Prince without the ball.

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