With the likes of Matt Scott or Jonathan Thurston often the ones gaining all the accolades, it was a new recruit that made his mark for the North Queensland Cowboys today – Jake Granville.
Seeking new opportunity at the Cowboys after a stilted first-grade run with rivals the Brisbane Broncos, Granville showed how good he is and proved his worth, scoring a hat-trick in the Cowboys win.
Two tries were his own doing – including the match-winner – as he burrowed his way over from dummy half to set the tone for the Cowboys win.
The Cowboys clung to victory and coach Paul Green admitted that he was unsure if it was going to be enough.
“I didn’t think a six-point lead in this game was going to be enough. I always thought whoever was going to win would probably have to score twice,” Green said.
Green is also not surprised at the work from Granville, with the two already acquainted previously.
“I’m really happy for him,” said Green.
“Obviously I’ve got a long association with him. I’ve seen him do that for years so I’m just happy that he’s doing it at this level because I knew he would.”
The game went back and forth for a while with both teams asserting dominance at different points, though ill-timed errors in attacking opportunities was a downfall on the part of both sides at times.
The game was one that left Andrew McFadden somewhat bitter, knowing that his side had come so close to victory.
“There’s not a lot of difference between jubilation and disappointment and unfortunately we were on the wrong side of that tonight,” lamented McFadden.
“A lot of effort there but just couldn’t finish it off.
“I think we made just one too many errors. I thought they played pretty good football in the second half, it was a bit of end to end stuff, both teams were pretty tired and it just came down to a few key plays.”
The win has the Cowboys enjoying a rich vein of form after a very slow start to the season, though their slow starts in games is still a concern.
“I don’t know [the reason for slow starts]. I think we were a little bit unlucky [on Saturday],” Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston said.
The key plays were the difference and McFadden knows the little things and errors cost his side.
“I think we made just one too many errors. I thought they played pretty good football in the second half, it was a bit of end to end stuff, both teams were pretty tired and it just came down to a few key plays,” said McFadden.
Player of the Game:
3. Jake Granville
2. Lachlan Coote
1. Solomone Kata
North Queensland Cowboys 26 (Jake Granville 3, Kane Linnett, Lachlan Coote tries; Johnathan Thurston 4 goals) def. New Zealand Warriors 24 (Konrad Hurrell, Johnathan Wright, Solomone Kata, Manu Vatuvei tries; Shaun Johnson 4 goals). Crowd: 16,038.