The Sydney Roosters will face the Wests Tigers in the first week of the finals after beating the North Queensland Cowboys in a poor display at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

The victory, which will do little to boost the Roosters confidence for next week’s game, with the Roosters taking close to 70 minutes to put the Cowboys to the sword and run away with the game.

The poor performance from the Roosters also cost them 5th spot on the ladder, a spot which was taken by the New Zealand Warriors following their win earlier on in the day.

Due to some niggling injuries, Brian Smith decided to rest key players Anthony Mininchello, Jake Friend and Mose Masoe, to freshen them up for next week’s crucial clash.

Although the Cowboys dominated possession for a certain period of time, it was a time like that they lacked the organisational skills and creativeness of injured halfback Jonathon Thurston.

Despite the loss, it was a night for the Cowboys faithful to celebrate about with club legend Matthew Bowen playing in his 200th NRL game, just the second North Queenslander to do so.

The night also marked the farewell for an astonishing 14 players from the Cowboys side with the likes of Luke O’Donnell, Carl Webb, Steve Southern, Anthony Watts and Willie Mason, all leaving the club.

Brian Smith had no excuses for his sides poor performance and urges his players to lift for next week’s crucial game.

“We’re probably the most patchy of all the teams,” he said.

“We know we’re in for a hell of a game.

“We’ve had a couple of fantastic games against them this year.

“(But) I’m probably not as confident going into it as I was at various stages on the way through.

“I think we’re going to need to find something. The first thing we’re going to need to do is recover from this team.

Cowboys coach Neil Henry was happy with the performance and said his side could now look to 2011, after a horror season that brought about just 5 wins.

“It wouldn’t be too difficult to be better than last week (against the Raiders),” he said.

“We were playing with a bit of emotion tonight with a few players leaving and Matty Bowen’s 200th.

“It was a spirited performance.”

By ricky

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