It was the blockbuster game that no one expected from Super Saturday. With so much on the line for both teams – the prospect of second place for the Roosters and the prospect of the wooden spoon for the Cowboys – the 9,721 fans at Allianz Stadium definitely got their money’s worth.

Despite a near perfect completion rate from North Queensland, the Cowboys came up short to the boys from Bondi fighting for the minor premiership.

The game looked to go the way of the Roosters from the beginning with Johnathan Thurston missing a sure penalty goal in the 7th minute, pushing it wide.

A miss which proved costly with Latrell Mitchell scoring just 4 minutes later after beautiful quick hands from captain Boyd Cordner. Mitchell converted his own try giving Sydney 6 points to enjoy.

With a decision that originally left some scratching their heads, Johnathan Thurston looked to bring his men back into the game with a penalty goal from right in front. With the possession granted back from the conversion, Jason Taumalolo was unstoppable absolutely steamrolling James Tedesco to get 4 points under the posts.

Joseph Manu took the spotlight from the big man however, scoring what could easily be a contender for try of the year. The centre broke down the sideline beating two defenders before flicking a no look pass off to his winger Ferguson who put a perfectly placed kick up in the air and back into the hands of Manu for the try.

From this moment, the Roosters let the clock count down before half time with 2 penalty goals taking them into half time up 16-8.

The Roosters came back in the second half picking up exactly where they left off with a Blake Ferguson try 9 minutes in after a run from Joseph Manu who obtained the ball from a Boyd Cordner fed scrum.

Not even 5 minutes later the Cowboys found themselves down 26-8 after a cut out pass from Cooper Cronk put a flying Daniel Tupou into the corner.

With 25 minutes to go and down by 18, the Cowboys came to life – led by both JTs.

Jason Taumalolo was finding metres any chance he could to march the team up the field and in the 56th minute, Johnathan Thurston fooled every defender with a textbook dummy to put himself down for a try beside the posts.

Almost 10 minutes later, Taumalolo helped make it a 6 point game with an offload to Gavin Cooper to grant the second rower his 8th try this season.

Both teams fought hard for the final near 15 minutes, pushing each other to the limits. The Cowboys earned their first and only incomplete set in the 77th minute and the Roosters finished the game with the 6 point lead secured.

Johnathan Thurston played his final game at Allianz Stadium, being gifted the match ball at full-time in what was the Cowboys’ strongest performance this season.

Although his side won the game, Roosters coach Trent Robinson could not go without praising Johnathan Thurston.

A man that he describes as a ‘once in a generation player’.

“We wanted to honour him as a person, we wanted to beat him in the game but wanted to honour the legacy he left,” said Robinson.

“JT left a similar legacy to Artie Beetson and I think that’s the biggest rap I can give him and didn’t want to let that pass.”

Robinson was disappointed with the poor showing from his side in the second half that led to a fade-out, despite holding on to win.

”Nervous is not the right word but obviously what we did to them for most of the game,” Robinson said post-game.

“Especially heading towards half-time and out of half-time, they started doing to us for about 10 minutes there and it was game on.”

It was an improved Cowboys showing but in the end, an inability to defend consistently ultimately let them down.

“Our ball control was pretty good tonight, we just probably defensively didn’t control their power game very well for periods,” said Cowboys coach Paul Green.

“[During our comeback] we found a pass, got a bit of an offload and played a bit of footy which you need to do against good defences but couldn’t get it on in the middle of the game.”

Player of the Game:

3 – Cooper Cronk

2 – Jason Taumalolo

1 – Johnathan Thurston

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.