The JT duo in Jason Taumalolo and Johnathan Thurston have guided the North Queensland Cowboys to victory.
With a mix of power, composure and brute force, the two guided the Cowboys to win over the Manly Sea Eagles.
In a battle of the QLD halves between Thurston and Daly Cherry-Evans, the veteran came out on top.
As did Taumalolo, who was a constant threat through the middle, troubling the Manly defence.
With both sides dealing with a number of key injuries and Origin stars out, the Cowboys responded strongest.
There were just two Cowboys tries in the first half; Taumalolo with one and Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein the other.
It could have been more, however, given the Cowboys had 56% of possession and kept the Manly side on their own line for an eternity.
It was the Sea Eagles who made the most of one of their few attacking raids in the first half, though.
Shaun Lane, in career-best form, beat several defenders, spun around and planted the ball down with his long arms.
It was only made worst for Manly when winger Jorge Taufua failed to return due to a head injury assessment (HIA).
It was compounded when the Cowboys scored two more tries.
A second to Winterstein and a maiden NRL try for Enari Tuala, who started at centre in the clash.
It was a much-needed win for the Cowboys, who had not won at Lottoland in seven years.
Despite the win, Thurston was livid at copping yet another late shot, one that saw Manly’s Jack Gosiewski put on report.
“It shits me. It’s not part of our team or the way we go about our business,” Thurston said.
“What is it going to take? Me getting a broken rib and being out for three or four weeks before they really clamp down on it?
“There’s a difference where you take it into the line trying to create space and you get whacked while you’re at the line.”
Cowboys coach Paul Green is on the NRL’s competition committee that can advise on rule changes and he made his feelings known.
“They’ve spoken about using the sin bin for foul play,” Green said. ‘
“When the bloke who passes the ball is relaxed and usually he’s hit when he can’t see it coming – from the side or from behind.
“They are the dangerous ones, and they’re the ones we’ve got to stamp out or someone will get seriously injured.”
It is dire straights for Manly and their playing roster, with Trent Barrett hoping the Trbojevic brothers emerge from Origin unscathed.
“Yeah, they (Jake and Tom) are coming, they will leave straight from Melbourne to come,” Barrett said.
“If they don’t play, we probably won’t be able to fill the team,” said Barrett.
“We’ll have to see how the two boys go with the concussion and we will miss Gosiewski, so they are definitely coming.
Player of the Game:
3. Jason Taumalolo
2. Johnathan Thurston
- Kyle Feldt