It threatened to get ugly for the North Queensland Cowboys but resolve and ticker from their players got them over the line against the Newcastle Knights.

The Cowboys, at one stage, were playing with 11 men, when both Jason Taumalolo and Lachlan Burr were sin-binned.

Despite the extreme momentum shift, they held their own defensively and allowed just a couple of Knights tries to be scored during that time.

The win, which was the Cowboys fifth in their last seven games, has propelled the side into eighth spot.

It was all about the Cowboys to start the game as they attacked an inexperienced Knights right edge.

Debutant Simi Sasagi and Starford To’a were unable to stop Murray Taulagi from opening the scoring after a nice set play by the Cowboys.

Reece Robson would then get his name on the scoresheet when he was able to pounce on a Shane Wright offload close to the line.

Taulagi would have his second try in a similar fashion, as he caused havoc on the left edge for the Cowboys.

The match would slowly turn on its head, though, and it was Sauaso Sue who barnstormed his way over after some Knights offloads.

Taumalolo would then be binned and Enari Tuala would score against his former side after he coasted past some meagre defence.

The scores would be level at the break after Lachlan Fitzgibbon poured through the gap.

A fourth consecutive try for the Knights was then on the cards when Sasagi produced a lovely flick pass for To’a.

That was as much as the Knights would do, however, as the Cowboys scored the final four tries of the game to seal the win.

Taulagi would cap off a stellar performance with a third try, his hat-trick and the first of his career.

Val Holmes followed it up by going alone on a left side raid; the Knights defence expecting the pass but he was able to coast through.

Mitchell Dunn was the recipient of poor communication by the Knights at the back as he pounced on a loose ball to score.

It was then a special night for debutant Heilum Luki who capped the Cowboys performance off with a try in his first career match.

Cowboys coach Todd Payten praised the efforts of his spine duo in Holmes and Scott Drinkwater, who were able to control the game well.

“There’s plenty of speed between those two,” Payten said.

“Drinky gets across the line pretty well, he squares up, creates space for his outside runners.

“We’ve got speed and skill.”

Despite suffering their seventh loss of the year, Knights coach Adam O’Brien felt like the effort was better and wants Knights fans to stay true.

“I thought it was a better performance, definitely,” O’Brien said.

“The result is not what we want, we’re not where we want to be, but we’re working extremely hard and I’m confident we’ll come out the other side.

“There’s some experience on the way. Five starters weren’t there and some young guys got some tough lessons.”

NRL News Player of the Match.

3. Valentine Holmes (NQL)

2. Reece Robson (NQL)

1. Heilum Luki (NQL)

North Queensland Cowboys hooker Reece Robson

 

By ricky

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