Warriors Make History at Cowboys Expense

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The New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys were the second game of the double header in New Zealand, with the Warriors looking to make it their first ever 5-0 start. The Cowboys were looking to re-start their season, with Jonathon Thurston looking to spark his form and the team looking to stay within touching distance of the top 8.

Both teams would stay unchanged from the teams that they named during the week, with Shaun Johnson coming back from injury for the Warriors and Michael Morgan pulling up well after his first game last week for the Cowboys. It was the first time in over a decade that the Warriors would play at home in front of a sell-out crowd, and the Warriors loved it.

It would be a fantastic start for the Warriors with a shortside play from dummy half saw Solomone Kata go screaming through the Cowboys right edge, before passing to Ken Maumalo for a lovely corner finish. Shaun Johnson would convert to make it 6-0 after 7 minutes.

The game would continue to be expansive, with the Cowboys setting up camp in the Warriors 20 but they were unable to capitalize on a few penalties and a couple of errors. The Warriors would look to take advantage of a piggy-back penalty and Blake Green would force a drop-out with the Warriors first trip to the redzone since the try.

The Warriors would get another set from a penalty and Shaun Johnson would send over David Fusitua with a beautiful cut out pass on the right side of the field. Johnson would convert to make it 12-0, and Fusitua would double up 7 minutes later off some lovely work from Johnson and Peta Hiku. Shaun Johnson would convert to make it 18-0.

The Cowboys would get one back before halftime, with some slick work from Michael Morgan and Ben Hampton sending Kyle Feldt over for a trademark diving put-down in the right corner. Jonathon Thurston would convert to make it 18-6 heading into the break.

The Cowboys would have the ball for the best part of the first ten minutes, but they were unable to break the line of the Warriors. Blake Green would end up catching a grubber that a slips fielder would be proud of in the end to quell the Cowboys attack.

A Shaun Johnson 40/20 at the end of the following set would lift the Warriors spirits and the packed house, although it would not work out with Isaac Luke losing control of the ball from dummy half 10m out. It would not matter, with some great running from dummy half and a penalty goal to boot giving the Warriors a 20-6 lead with 25 minutes to go.

The Cowboys would take advantage on a Warriors error, with Thurston sending Ben Hampton through the line and over to give his team a sniff. His conversion would make it 20-12 with under a quarter of the game to go.

Both teams would get close in the remaining time, with a penalty goal 5 minutes from time close to sealing the deal for the Warriors. The short kick-off nearly worked for the Cowboys, but Gavin Cooper ended up being dragged into touch. Despite both teams getting close to the try line, neither could get over it as the Warriors would win at home.

The Warriors, who are now 5-0 for the first time in their history, are at home next week against the Brisbane Broncos while North Queensland are at home to the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Chumpie

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