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Cowboys stampede sickly Eels


Dominic Bossi


Rampage ... Young Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo powers ahead during his sides 42-6 win over Parramatta last night.

Rampage ... Young Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo powers ahead during his sides 42-6 win over Parramatta last night. Photo: Getty Images



At the end of round three, Parramatta's season is already slipping away. Not since 1953 has any team won the competition after losing their first three games and void of direction and structure, the Eels don't look like breaking that trend. To make matters worse, Chris Sandow left the field 10 minutes early because of a possible injury. The only concern the Cowboys have is James Segeyaro being put on report for a late tackle.

Brent Tate of the Cowboys is tackled by Matthew Keating of the Eels.

Brent Tate of the Cowboys is tackled by Matthew Keating of the Eels. Photo: Getty Images


North Queensland ran riot in a 36-point victory over a poor Parramatta. Matt Scott opened the scoring on 16 minutes, pushing through two Parramatta defenders to score next to the posts, giving Thurston an easy chance to convert. Five minutes later, the Cowboys went 10 points up. Ashley Graham danced his way through a static defence and when it appeared he was held short of the line, twisted out of a tackle to score a try. The Eels had no response to the Cowboys' attack and were soon down 14-0 when Jason Taumalolo scored a 20-metre try. Two minutes later, Taumalolo turned provider, breaking through the Eels' line to set up Graham for his second. Thurston converted from the sideline to make it 20-0. The Cowboys' onslaught continued as a missed intercept by Sandow allowed the home team to break 70 metres to score a try, making it 26-0 at the break. The Eels finally got off the mark when Pat O'Hanlon crossed on 55 minutes but couldn't make any further comeback. The Cowboys absorbed the pressure and scored another easy try through Kane Linnett 10 minutes before the siren. Graham finally got his third for the night, latching onto a Segeyaro cross-field bomb to score in the corner, and a brilliant conversion from the sideline by Thurston extended the Cowboys lead to 36-6 with two minutes to go. A dejected Eels couldn't prevent one last four-pointer, as Gavin Cooper finished a slick passing move to secure the 42-6 win.


Since failing to score in their opening game, the Cowboys' attack is emerging as one of the most dangerous in the competition.


Eels fans might lament the loss of Jarryd Hayne, but their problems are much deeper. Toothless in attack, disorganised at the back and constant handling errors suggest that the team needs a large-scale restructure. There were some signs of promise from halves Sandow and Roberts, but coach Stephen Kearney will need to shake up a squad which missed 40 tackles.


Cowboys coach Neil Henry: ''We trained in wet conditions yesterday and we knew it was going to be like this and it's good when we talk about playing a type of game that we're able to execute the plan and it takes a lot of work from the boys and I'm very pleased with our defensive commitment as well.''


Eels coach Stephen Kearney: ''With the short turnaround, you don't get a great deal of time to prepare, but I didn't pick that tonight. Regardless of the circumstances, it was totally unacceptable on our part.''


Parramatta's 0-3 start to the season is threatening to derail their hopes of finals football. The loss of Hayne hurt, but the defeat in Townsville was nothing short of demoralising. Coach Stephen Kearney must find whatever positives he can if the Eels have any chance of claiming their first win of the season against Penrith at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night. North Queensland will host the struggling Sharks on Saturday night.

NORTH QUEENSLAND 42 (A Graham 3 M Bowen G Cooper K Linnett M Scott J Taumalolo tries J Thurston 5 goals) bt PARRAMATTA 6 (P O’Hanlon try C Sandow goal) at Dairy Farmers Stadium. Referee: Chris James, Adam Devcich. Crowd: 8239.


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