Cowboys grab top spot on NRL ladder - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys grab top spot on NRL ladder

By Laine Clark 01/05/2005 07:31:01 PM Comments (0)

Even modest North Queensland coach Graham Murray couldn't deny his side's premiership credentials after the Cowboys stormed to the top of the NRL table for the first time since their 1995 inception.

Not that any doubt remained after halfback Johnathan Thurston and fullback Matt Bowen inspired the Cowboys to Saturday night's 38-18 thumping of 2004 grand finalist the Sydney Roosters at Townsville - their ninth straight home win.

"They're playing tough, disciplined football and I think they deserve where they are on the table," Murray said of the Cowboys (6-2) outfit which heads a group of five teams on 12 points after round eight.

A sellout crowd of 22,476 rabid fans cheered on the Cowboys to a seven tries to three win - their first home victory over the Roosters which avenged last season's preliminary final loss.

And the moment wasn't lost on former Roosters coach Murray.

"If you're playing good football, you can win anywhere. But 22,000 here and the wheel's turning," Murray said.

"When I first came here it wasn't always like that. There was a lot of people who wanted the Roosters to win, for example, or the Brisbane Broncos.

"Now we're outnumbering them big time and the crowds come to see us play because we're playing some good footy."

In contrast, the Roosters (12th; 3-5) slumped to their fifth loss in six games - and even club coaching director Phil Gould admitted his beloved club was struggling.

"It was a team on the rise, the Cowboys, up against a team probably on the wane a little bit and struggling with confidence," Gould told the Nine Network.

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