WESTS TIGERS BEAT COWBOYS 26-18 TO RECORD FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN
By Wayne Cousins
Sunday 27 May 2012 4:26 PM
Wests Tigers recorded a hard fought 26-18 win over the North Queensland Cowboys at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in round 12 of the Telstra Premiership.
It was the Wests Tigers fifth consecutive win and moves the side to 14 points and in eighth position on the ladder.
In front of a crowd of 13,059, the match marked the NRL debut of talented five-eighth Curtis Sironen who rose through the ranks of the Balmain juniors to Wests Tigers NYC and first grade.
Wests Tigers opened the scoring in the 2nd minute when full-back Tim Moltzen scored off a bomb by half-back Benji Marshall after the ball was spilt by Cowboys full-back Matt Bowen. Marshall converted the try for a 6-0 lead.
Marshall fired up three minutes later when he was taken out by prop James Tamou after kicking the ball on the last tackle. Two minutes later Wests Tigers hooker and captain Robbie Farah was crunched heavily by second-rower Glen Hall after trying to burrow over from dummy half. Farah showed his toughness by getting back up on his feet after seeking medical attention.
A minute later, Marshall converted a penalty goal after the Cowboys were ruled offside next to their posts for an 8-0 lead.
The Cowboys opened their account in the 19th minute when Hall reached out to score. The try came on the back of a penalty to the visitors after a poor last tackle kick by Marshall saw Nth Queensland go on attack. Thurston converted the try to leave the Cowboys trailing 8-6.
Two minutes later, the Cowboys were in again when Thurston found the Wests Tigers short on the left to send winger Antonio Winterstein over for a try. Thurston converted the try from the sideline to give North Queensland a 12-8 lead after 23 minutes.
Wests Tigers regained the lead in the 37th minute after Cowboys full-back Matt Bowen tried to flick the ball on one handed from Thurston. The ball went straight into the arms of Wests Tigers winger Lote Tuqiri who raced 40 metres to score under the posts. Marshall converted the try to send Wests Tigers into half-time with a 14-12 lead.
Wests Tigers went on the attack inside the Cowboys after a long run by winger Matt Utai. The next play saw Marshall throw a pass on the blind side to centre Beau Ryan but he went into touch.
Sironen entered the field in the 49th minute to make his NRL debut in just his fourth game this season after recovering from off season shoulder surgery.
A minute later, Sironen crossed the tryline off a Marshall pass but the ball was ruled forward. Wests Tigers got inside the Cowboys quarter following a long run by Marshall from a grubber kick.
Marshall got Wests Tigers out to an 18-12 lead in the 58th minute when he held up the ball before getting on the inside of Hall to reach out to score. The try came after Wests Tigers decided to keep the pressure on despite receiving two penalties neat the posts. Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers a 20-12 lead after 60 minutes.
The Cowboys got back to 20-16 in the 65th minute through a try to winger Ashley Graham after the ball was spread quickly to the right following a long downfield run on the previous play by Tamou.
Thurston converted the try to leave the Cowboys trailing 20-18.
Some smart play by winger Matt Utai saw Wests Tigers trap Bowen in goal after Utai put a grubber kick through. In the following set, Bowen held up Heighington over the tryline to deny Wests Tigers a try.
Farah came close to scoring but lost the ball just a metre from the tryline in the 63rd minute. He got up again after seeking more medical treatment in a gallant effort.
An intercept pass by centre Chris Lawrence saw Wests Tigers regain possession 45 metres out from the Cowboys tryline. The next play, theCowboys were ruled offside.
From the penalty, Wests Tigers went deep inside the Cowboys quarter before Marshall delivered a perfect ball to send full-back Tim Moltzen over in the 77th minute to send the home crowd into a frenzy. Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers the 26-18 lead.