Cowboys beat Roosters in Fitzy farewell - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys beat Roosters in Fitzy farewell

By Steve Jancetic 06/09/2009 05:52:12 PM Comments (0)

Retiring great Craig Fitzgibbon wanted time to stand still.

But you could forgiven for thinking every Sydney Roosters supporter could barely wait for the fulltime siren to end a forgettable season which ended with the NRL club's first wooden spoon in 43 years.

North Queensland delivered the final rites on the Roosters season from hell at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday afternoon, coming back from 16-0 down to win 32-16 and ruin Fitzgibbon's farewell.

Just when it looked like the Fitzgibbon would avoid the ignominy of departing with wooden spoon in tow, the tri-colours again capitulated, sparing Cronulla an undeserved last-placed finish.

The Sharks had fought hard the past two weeks to be twice cruelly denied wins.

Fitzgibbon - who will play in England with Hull in 2010 - refused to let the result, or a tumultuous final season, get him down as he took part in a lap of honour.

"I haven't had my ego stroked like that before," Fitzgibbon said.

"I've been joking all week I'd like to retire more often - it's the best feeling

"It's a weird feeling, I want to keep playing - I wish there was next week.

"I was hoping it (the clock) would stop so we could keep playing, I wished time could stand still but unfortunately it was running down pretty quick."

And the Cowboys kept piling on the points.

The Roosters defence had looked like putting in for their retiring warhorse as they repelled the Cowboys for the opening 38 minutes, with tries to Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Iwi Hauraki and Willie Mason setting up a handy advantage.

The North Queensland skipper Johnathan Thurston, who had provided some of his most inept football over the opening half hour, found his skills.

Thurston turned around his own game and that of the Cowboys, scoring a sneaky one under the posts just before halftime following a quick tap before engineering a five-try onslaught during the second 40 minutes.

"I'm a bit filthy," said departing Roosters coach Brad Fittler.

"I thought we could have dug in a bit harder.

"We got it down to 40 minutes and we were in front by ten, it was just crap really."

The winners, too, were left with a bitter taste, knowing it had been second-half collapses over the past month that had cruelled their finals chances.

"We've been in games to win and just come up short at fulltime,' Thurston said.

"It's a hollow feeling sitting here knowing we're not playing next week.

"We've been in positions to win games but we just haven't had that final touch to put teams away."

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