North Queensland have seen off a spirited problem by St George Illawarra 31-12 at house to win their tenth recreation of the season and cement themselves within the competitors’s prime 4.
The Cowboys have a knack of turning up their defensive depth in second halves and held their opposition to simply the one attempt within the second stanza, a lot to the delight of coach Todd Payten.
Their 46 factors conceded in second halves by means of 14 rounds this season is the NRL’s greatest. Additionally they held their opponents to 12 factors or fewer for the tenth time in 2022.
“What’s permitting us to play with some freedom, with some ball motion, is the truth that we’re prepared to again it up with errors or penalties with our D,” Payten mentioned.
Tries for Connelly Lemuelu and Murray Taulagi at first and finish of the second half capped off an error-strewn night. The house facet had been nonetheless nicely in management, nevertheless, having scored three tries to 1 within the first stanza.
Though the Dragons loved the lion’s share of territory within the second half, they might solely capitalise late on by means of a attempt by Jaydn Su’a within the 74th minute.
Their play-the-balls deep within the remaining third had been shut down with punishing defence by the Cowboys.
Hooker Reece Robson paved the way in which with 43 tackles, none higher than on former teammate Francis Molo on his tryline to power an error late on.
Payten known as his hooker’s efficiency their greatest, if not on a par with co-skipper Jason Taumalolo.
The Tongan wrecking ball was barnstorming by means of the center, main all gamers with 191 metres off 18 carries, whereas Jordan McLean carried nicely to complete with 124.
Valentine Holmes backed up his origin defensive heroics with one other stylish efficiency, and his coach mentioned there wasn’t a lot stopping him working out at house in his one hundred and fiftieth NRL recreation.
Within the first half, the house facet had been the primary to attain when Tom Dearden capitalised on deep territory, placing Coen Hess by means of a gap earlier than he offloaded to a surging Scott Drinkwater to plunge over.
They then went back-to-back as Dearden compelled a goal-line dropout, with Drinkwater turning supplier on the ensuing set, grubbering to the in-goal for Peta Hiku to bag their second.
A penalty purpose by Holmes made it 14-0 after 22 minutes earlier than the Dragons had their first actual crack on the line however Cody Ramsey’s attempt was overturned on account of obstruction.
Moments later the house facet had their third after a deft move by Taumalolo in midfield put Griffin Neame by means of a gap, he in flip discovering a supporting Robson to attain in opposition to his former membership.
Moses Suli’s attempt earlier than halftime gave the Dragons some hope however the Cowboys saved them at arm’s size to safe the win.
However in a blemish for the Cowboys, they misplaced young-gun backrower Heilum Luki to a suspected ACL harm within the first half.