Warriors rampant to ride Cowboys to end
Sun, 01 Jul 2012 5:44p.m.
The Warriors have kept themselves on the threshold of the NRL top eight after downing a State of Origin-depleted North Queensland side 35-18 in Auckland.
The Warriors' win was founded on a fast start and a strong finish, but they also had some anxious moments in the middle stages against spirited opposition.
The Cowboys had four of their big names - Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Brent Tate and James Tamou - missing because of Origin duty.
They also lost halfback Ray Thompson to a shoulder injury midway through the opening spell.
But they fought well to stay in the contest until a late Warriors double strike.
Down 22-6, the visitors grabbed tries on either side of halftime to centre Ashley Graham - his 15th of the season - and second rower Gavin Cooper to close to within four points with half an hour to go.
In a frantic finish before a 15,274 crowd at Mt Smart Stadium, the Warriors pulled away 12 minutes from time through Nathan Friend.
The hooker, in his first match back after two months out with a broken jaw, forced his way over from dummy half.
Another dummy half try, from Lewis Brown, after a big break by Shaun Johnson, sealed the victory, before James Maloney added a field goal for good measure.
The result kept the Warriors two points outside the top eight, while the Cowboys remain just inside.
The Warriors sprinted out of the blocks and were up 16-0 at quicker than a point a minute after their centres shared three tries.
Ben Henry got the first via a Johnson break, before Konrad Hurrell finished off a well-structured attack for his ninth try in his debut season.
From the kick-off, the Warriors surged back down field and, when a Maloney bomb fell loose to Kevin Locke, the fullback put Henry over for his second.
North Queensland struck back through centre Kane Linnett, who ran a great line to be put through a hole.
But a superb short ball from the mercurial Feleti Mateo sent prop Jacob Lillyman over to restore the 16-point margin.
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1/07/2012 5:55:36 p.m.
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