They may have been without several Origin stars but the North Queensland Cowboys proved their mettle with a resounding 32-6 win over the Gold Coast Titans.
Playing much better than many expected, the loss of Jeremiah Nanai, Val Holmes, Tom Dearden and Reuben Cotter, failed to stop their momentum in 2022.
The ninth win of the season for the Cowboys moves them into third spot but the win looked a small chance based on the opening stanza.
The Titans enjoyed some strong possession in the early stages and after sustained pressure and a Cowboys error, they actually opened the scoring.
The Titans try came off the back of some smooth ball movement, eventually resulting in a try for Titans halfback Toby Sexton.
The Cowboys slowly found their groove as the 30-minute mark neared and it was Scott Drinkwater who put Heilum Luki over 10m out, the young forward far too strong for the Titans defence.
On the back of some more slick passing, this time from the Cowboys, they nabbed a second.
Murray Taulagi’s name went on the scoresheet as he steamrolled over Jayden Campbell to score the Cowboys second.
A third Cowboys try just before the break gave them a nice half-time buffer when Jamayne Isaako dropped the ball and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow pounced to score.
Despite coming close on several occasions in the opening 10-15 minutes of the second half, the Titans could not find a way through the resolute Cowboys defence.
Reece Robson capped off a stellar performance in the middle when he burrowed over to score.
Jason Taumalolo’s efforts did not go unnoticed either, with the hulking forward setting up Drinkwater’s kick for Tabuai Fidow’s second try.
The icing on the cake came when two veterans combined as Jake Granville found Peta Hiku back on the inside and the centre did the rest to give the Cowboys a resounding win.
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Scott Drinkwater (NQL)
2. Jason Taumalolo (NQL)
1. Heilum Luki (NQL)