The Warriors have at last got their 2014 campaign underway with a shock 20-16 win over the Cowboys in Townsville last night.
It looks like being a typical year for the Warriors, when you expect them to win, they lose and when they’re written off they produce their best.
This was a solid and confident performance from the Warriors and it’s hard to imagine that this is the same side that was thrashed by the Eels and Dragons in the first two weeks of the season.
The Warriors played with passion, energy, composure and enthusiasm and they never allowed the Cowboys to get into this game.
This won’t go down as one of the Warriors’ most thrilling games or anywhere near being that, however after such a terrible start to the season, there wouldn’t have been many wins that have been as significant over their 19-year history than this.
After soaking up some early pressure the Warriors struck first, with Glen Fisiiahi latching onto a long pass out to the right edge from Chad Townsend and then trotted in for the points.
In the 17th minute the Fisiiahi scored again for the Warriors with the wing grounding Shaun Johnson’s grubber in goal, although it did look like Fisiiahi had knocked the ball on just before he forced it down.
Samoan international Antonio Winterstein fumbled the ball with a try beckoning later in the half, but made amends with a great finish in the 26th minute, bursting through tackles through that always troublesome right edge Warriors defence.
There were no more points scored in the rest of the half, with the only other highlight being a big hit Jacob Lillyman put on Thurston when the Cowboys were hot on attack.
Fourteen minutes into the second half Konrad Hurrell, who had controversially been left out of the side for the first two games of the season because of fitness issues, did what he does best, which is to barge over from a few metres.
That trademark kiss he blew to his mother after scoring his try was perhaps the most enjoyable moment for Warriors fans so far this year.
Sione Lousi increased the visitor’s lead with a try 18 minutes from time and Johnson’s conversion made the score 20-6.
There was a slight worry when Fisiiahi spilled a bomb, which led to a Michael Morgan try a few minutes later, but Sam
Tomkins did an incredible job in stopping Tariq Sims from grounding the ball over the line in the 70th minute.
However, Kyle Feldt’s try for the Cowboys in the corner with six minutes to go meant there was to be a tense finish.
Feldt came close to bagging his second try with two minutes to go but put his foot on the line just a metre out.
There was one more edge of the seat moment left, when Feleti Mateo gave the ball away when trying to run down the clock but the Cowboys couldn’t take advantage of it and ended up getting nothing from this game.
NZ Warriors 20 (G Fisiiahi 2, K Hurrell, S Lousi tries; S Johnson 2 goals) North Queensland Cowboys 16
(A Winterstein, M Morgan, K Feldt tries; J Thurston 2 goals). HT: 6-8
- Fairfax Media
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