Rugby League

Cowboys power past Raiders in Canberra

June 14, 2024 8:27 pm

[Source: NRL]

The Cowboys will head into their first bye of the year on a high after a fast start set them up for a 34-16 win over the Raiders in Canberra on Friday night.

A season-best defensive effort headlined a dominant first half in which they ran in four unanswered tries, with the result lifting North Queensland to 16 competition points ahead of their week off.

Maroons forward Reuben Cotter and Kiwi big man Griffin Neame led the way as Todd Payten’s men got the better of a representative-laden Raiders pack, while halves Tom Dearden and Chad Townsend pulled the strings beautifully when chances presented.

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For the Raiders it marked a third-straight defeat at GIO Stadium, with the Green Machine having leaked a whopping 118 points through that period.

After absorbing a fast start from the home side, the Cowboys made a statement with their goal-line defence, holding Raiders up over the line on three occasions and seeing off promising attacking movements.

That, and their own at-times calamitous play with ball in hand, saw Canberra head to the sheds down 22-0, and despite showing some improvement in the second 40 the damage had well and truly been done.

North Queensland rode their luck for the opening try – a grubber which pinballed off the hands and feet of multiple Raiders before ending in the mitt of Kyle Feldt – ahead of constructing a handful of cracking four-pointers to extend their lead over the next half hour.

Dearden sent Heilum Luki through with a crisp pass from close range, before Townsend put boot to ball and watched Jeremiah Nanai win the race to it four minutes later.

Feldt grabbed his second with an acrobatic effort in the corner 12 from the break, before North Queensland produced a couple more impressive defensive stands to avoid giving Canberra a sniff.

Valentine Holmes then continued his impressive form at GIO Stadium with a try that means he has never played a game there without getting over for a four-pointer.

To their credit the Raiders finished the better of the two sides and threatened to make a game of it after crossing through Jordan Rapana, Xavier Savage and Elliott Whitehead in the final half hour, but the mountain they’d created for themselves was too high to climb at that point.

The Cowboys saved one of their best for last, with Blues hooker Reece Robson the beneficiary of a slicing run through the middle from Scott Drinkwater.