For the Cowboys, this game was all about honouring their fallen friend in Alex Elisala and they celebrated in style albeit in an ugly manner, winning the game for their mate at Parramatta Stadium, defeating the Parramatta Eels 14-10.
By no means an easy thing to deal with for any club, the Cowboys approached the game with the intent of honouring their mate, with both teams and all at the venue partaking in a minute’s silence for Elisala.
The game was evenly contested across the board with both sides having opportunities to score further points but not capitalising when it mattered.
Ultimately, it was the Cowboys who took one extra chance to award themselves the victory, but the Eels players can and should hang their heads high, putting in a tremendous display of effort, belief and courage to stay in the contest for the entire game, after last week’s shocker against the Panthers.
The Eels loss was soured further, with co-captain Reni Maitua put on report for a shoulder charge, as well as a hip injury hampering centre Jacob Loko.
North Queensland Cowboys captain admits that the emotion was difficult to deal with, but is pleased his side got the win for their fallen mate.
“It’s been a very tough week for everyone involved,” Thurston said.
“It’s very hard to focus on footy when you have those tragic circumstances.
“But credit to our boys. They did a great effort tonight.
“They hung in there. They did everything that was asked of them during the week at training, preparation.
Knowing a better performance than last week was needed, the Eels players responded, with coach Ricky Stuart pleased with the way his side battled the entire game.
“The whole squad learned a lot this week,” Stuart said.
“We were really good … I thought we were the better team to be quite honest.”
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