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North Queensland Cowboys find cure for their homesickness in Cronulla

Cronulla 18 North Queensland 36

Final Winter: Antonio Winterstein touches down in spectacular style for the Cowboys.

Final Winter: Antonio Winterstein touches down in spectacular style for the Cowboys. Photo: Getty Images

North Queensland have ended their eight-game losing streak and won their first game away from Townsville this season, beating Cronulla 36-18 at Remondis Stadium on Friday night.

The Cowboys may be relived to have halted their road trip woes, but their performance did little to suggest that they’ll make a late-season finals charge. Both teams failed to find any true rhythm in front of 9366 people. It was 320 days since the Cowboys enjoyed victory outside Townsville, when they last travelled to Cronulla.

The Sharks struggled without their skipper Paul Gallen and remain planted at the bottom of the premiership ladder.

Time
80.00
Team
CRO
Score
18
Team
NQL
Score
36
Cronulla versus North Queensland
View Match Statistics
Players Wright, Lewis, Gordon Tries 3 Tries 6 Players Sims, Thurston(2), Winterstein, Morgan, Hall
Players Gordon 3/3 (100%) Conversions 3 Conversions 5 Players Thurston 5/6 (83%)
Players Penalty goals 0 Penalty goals 1 Players Thurston 1/1 (100%)
Players Field goals 0 Field goals 0 Players

The Sharks are also likely to make a final decision on who will lead them for the rest of the year, with interim coach James Shepherd having needed a win – or at the very least a close result – to almost guarantee his place as  coach until the end of the season.  Whether anyone else would want the job remains to be seen.

Tariq Sims, Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan and James Tamou were the Cowboys' best while Wade Graham and Andrew Fifita tried hard for the home side in match where 19 penalties were blown.

The Cowboys raced to a 16-0 lead after just 20 minutes following a catastrophic beginning to the game by Cronulla fullback Michael Gordon.

Gordon spilt his first two kicks with North Queensland capitalising to score on both occasions. His dropped bomb found Tariq Sims who opened the Cowboys' account two minutes into the game.

When Gordon fumbled a bouncing grubber from the next set it kept the Cowboys on the attack. Hooker Rory Kostjaysn went close to scoring from his kick, only to be denied by the video referee because his leg scraped the sideline.

But when the Cowboys were granted an extra set because of Gordon’s initial knock-on, Thurston dummied his way to the try line.

Cronulla finally had their first touch of the ball after seven minutes and dominated possession for a short period. However, they were unable to capitalise on the possession swing.

When winger Antonio Winterstein scored from a simple wide shift for the away team, Cronulla seemed destined for a long night. But like they have done in recent weeks, the Sharks crawled their way back into the game despite trailing by 16.

Tries to Jonathan Wright and Luke Lewis in the final five minutes of the first half saw the Sharks trail by four despite their lacklustre start.

The Sharks attack failed to penetrate the Cowboys defence when they were presented with early opportunities in the second half.

After withstanding pressure of their own, the Cowboys opened the second-half scoring when a determined Morgan carried multiple Sharks defenders over the tryline to plant the pointy end of the football on the try line in the 56th minute.

His efforts were matched by Glenn Hall who went through flimsy Cronulla defence to cross for his first try of the season seven minutes later.

Thurston extended his match tally to 18 points when he scored the Cowboys' final try before Gordon scored Cronulla’s only second half points in the final six minutes.

North Queensland pair Ashton Sims and Rob Lui were placed on report in back-to-back first-half sets while the Sharks were reduced to a 15-man rotation after Jacob Gagan (concussion) and Siosaia Vave (knee) were taken from the field. 

NORTH QUEENSLAND 36 (J Thurston 2 G Hall M Morgan T Sims A Winterstein tries J Thurston 6 goals) bt CRONULLA 18 (M Gordon L Lewis J Wright tries M Gordon 3 goals) at Remondis Stadium. Referee: Alan Shortall, Gavin Morris. Crowd: 9,366.

Four Nations 2014

Round 1
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
ENG 32 vs SAM 26 Stats
AUS 12 vs NEWZ 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 14 vs SAM 12 Report Stats
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS 16 vs ENG 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 16 vs ENG 14 Report Stats
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS 44 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Final
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 22 vs AUS 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Four Nations 2014
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 22 6
Australia 3 2 1 0 12 4
England 3 1 2 0 0 2
Samoa 3 0 3 0 -34 0
View all
 
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