Cowboys cruise past toothless Titans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys cruise past toothless Titans

Liam Butterworth 08/04/2011 10:46:02 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast's horror start to the 2011 NRL season continued with a 22-12 loss to North Queensland in Townsville on Friday night.

The Titans have won just one of their opening five matches and had no answers for a dominant Cowboys attack.

North Queensland linchpins Matt Bowen and Johnathan Thurston were again pivotal in attack, exploiting the Titans' right wing.

The Cowboys raced to a 22-0 lead at half-time with tries to Willie Tonga, Thurston, Gavin Cooper and Bowen all coming down the left.

Thurston ran 70m to score his first try of the season after blocking, and then collecting, a chip by opposing halfback Scott Prince in the 15th minute.

Tonga and winger Kalifa Faifai Loa also had chances to add to the score but were unable to get to first-half chips from Thurston and Bowen respectively.

Thurston looked to have continued the scoring rout with a second try in the 49th minute when he broke through the Titans' defence but the video referee didn't believe he got the ball down cleanly.

The only tries in the second half went to the Titans, with Steve Michaels sweeping past a hesitant Matt Bowen on the left wing in the 59th minute.

Esikeli Tonga closed the gap in the final minute when he latched onto a Michaels pass and again left Bowen second-guessing.

The Titans could have been closer had Luke Capewell not spurned a clear-cut try, spilling the ball when he was through on the try line 20 minutes into the first half.

Titans second rower Anthony Laffranchi played little part in the second half after coming off injured.

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright believed North Queensland put together some of the best football of the season in the first half.

"They're hard to defend to, I've got to take my hat off to them for that," Cartwright said.

"That's probably the best footy I've seen for a long time in the first half."

He added that Bowen's try in the last two minutes of the first half put the game beyond the Titans' reach.

Cartwright said the Titans would be sweating on the injuries to Laffranchi (ankle), Ben Ridge (strained quadricep) and Michaels (cut head).

Cowboys coach Neil Henry was relatively satisfied with the performance.

"Good first half, I was pleased with our defensive effort and the tries on the back of working pretty hard out of our own end, so happy with that," he said.

"When we look at it in the context of three matches in 12 days, two wins and a loss by two points, I think we can take that."

Thurston said despite the dominant first half, there was a feeling of disappointment in the sheds after the game.

"There's some confidence there in the team and we were pretty happy to get the two points, but there was a bit of a sombre mood when we came off because everyone was disappointed with our second half and our completion rate," he said.

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