Rugby League

Cowboys hold off injury-hit Titans to get back on track

March 25, 2023 9:18 am

[Source: NRL]

The Cowboys have outlasted an injury-hit Titans side to come away with a 24-12 win at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday night.

Coming off back-to-back losses to the Broncos and Warriors, Todd Payten’s men were forced to dig deep after they trailed 8-0 in the shadows of half-time.

The Titans drew first blood in just the fourth minute when winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira finished off a slick right-side raid, taking the final pass from David Fifita and touching down for his fourth try of the season. Tanah Boyd’s conversion made it 6-0.

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A double blow for the Titans midway through the half with fullback AJ Brimson (hamstring) and five-eighth Kieran Foran (calf) both leaving the field within the space of 90 seconds.

A penalty against Cowboys fullback Tom Chester for a strip handed Boyd an easy two points and the visitors led 8-0.

The Cowboys had several chances to open their account and the pressure finally told in the 36th minute when Chad Townsend put Jeremiah Nanai over from close range. Val Holmes added the extra to make it 8-6 at the break.

When veteran prop James Tamou crashed over in the 45th minute the Cowboys had the lead and all the momentum against the undermanned Titans.

Five minutes later the Cowboys went further ahead when Holmes intercepted a long ball by Boyd and outpaced Jayden Campbell on an 80-metre run to the tryline to make it 18-8.

Refusing to lie down the Titans headed left through skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui who delivered a great offload to David Fifita and he put Khan-Pereira away another four-pointer.

A shot clock violation against the Cowboys for failing to feed the scrum in time let the Titans off the hook with 17 minutes to play but the Titans were unable to capitalise.

Both sides then lost their way in attack with a number of errors creeping into the game before a bizarre try to Chester gave the home side the breathing space they needed with six minutes to play.

An offload by Heilum Luki hit Chester in the head and then went down onto his boot and rolled towards the line where Campbell failed to clean up and Chester won the scramble for the ball. Holmes’ conversion made it 24-12.

The Titans mounted a couple of late raids but the Cowboys hung on to make it 13 wins from their past 16 games against the Titans.

Adding merit to the Cowboys’ win was the fact they finished the night with one man on the bench after Murray Taulagi (knee), Gehamat Shibasaki (hamstring) and Tamou (foot) all suffered injuries.