Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein scores the winning try during the dying stages in Townsville. Click for more photos

Raiders run down by Cowboys

Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein scores the winning try during the dying stages in Townsville. Photo: Getty Images

  • Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein scores the winning try during the dying stages in Townsville.
  • Cowboys forward Matt Scott tries to push his way through the Raiders defence.
  • Cowboys forward Gavin Cooper crashes into the Raiders defence.
  • Raiders forward Paul Vaughan gets wrapped around the legs by Cowboys half Robert Lui.
  • Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt scores in the corner.
  • Raiders enforcer Josh Papalii crashes over to score.
  • Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo gets tackled by Raiders youngster Shannon Boyd.
  • Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt scores in the corner.
  • Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt celebrates with teammates after his first half try.
  • Cowboys star James Tamou gets wrapped up by Glen Buttriss, no. 9, of the Raiders.

STILL MENTAL ERRORS TO SOLVE

Canberra led 16-0 in the first half and were dominating almost every facet of the game. But some poor defence allowed Cowboys centre Kane Linnett to run 65 metres from close to his own line, setting up the host’s first try. The try Johnathan Thurston scored off a quick tap from a penalty was simply inexcusable. It’s these coach killers the Raiders needs to eradicate from their game, and fast. North Queensland rode the momentum in the second half, and Johnathan Thurston was involved in everything.

DON’T GO MILFORD

Some questioned whether Canberra fullback Anthony Milford would be fully committed for the Raiders this season given his pending move to Brisbane. But the 19-year-old needed just 10 minutes to erase those doubts by setting up the opening try with a brilliant piece of opportunistic play. Milford dummied from dummy half and scooted down the blindside, setting up winger Edrick Lee’s four-pointer. Everything Milford does this year will be greeted by mixed feelings from Raiders fans. Canberra fans will enjoy it as long as they can,  but talk persists Raiders officials haven’t given up on changing his mind by the round 13 deadline.

ON-LINE DEFENCE CRITICAL

Canberra’s record stopping tries in their own danger zone is among the NRL’s worst in recent seasons. However, the early lead they built was on the back of great desperation on their own try line. Early on Raiders back-rower Josh Papalii stopped opposite number Jason Taumalolo in his tracks when he looked certain to score. The Raiders scored their first try in the next set. Later it was Milford who stopped a full-steam Taumalolo from scoring one-on-one. Then centre Jarrod Croker pulled off a one-on-one tackle on Brent Tate with the Cowboys camped on their line.

PAPALII-TAUMALOLO LIVES UP TO BILLING

There was plenty of hype surrounding the Papalii-Taumalolo confrontation, two of the most talented young back-rowers in the game. It certainly didn’t disappoint. Papalii scored a first half try on top of his superb try-saver on his opposite number, while Taumalolo ran for a staggering 119 metres in the first half alone. It appears Taumalolo now realises the damage he can do if he uses his frame to his full advantage.

LEFT SIDE DANGEROUS

Jack Wighton’s Raiders debut at five-eighth got off to a less than auspicious start when his first kick sailed out on the full. He bounced back superbly to cause the Cowboys right side plenty of headaches. His footwork and strength forced North Queensland’s outside men to move in, opening up plenty of chances for centre Jarrod Croker and his winger Edrick Lee. Josh McCrone showed some solid signs playing hooker off the bench, meaning Wighton is likely to get an extended audition in the position where he represented the Junior Kangaroos.