NZ WARRIORS <Vodafone-Warriors>
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|GALLANT FIGHTBACK - VODAFONE WARRIORS 12, NORTH QUEENSLAND 18||305 weeks ago|
|North Queensland defended desperately - and ultimately successfully - to deny the Vodafone Warriors the chance of taking Saturday night's NRL encounter into golden point extra time at Dairy Farmers Stadium. |
With Patrick Ah Van in the sin bin, the Vodafone Warriors conceded tries either side of halftime to trail 0-18 after 46 minutes.
But they dominated the rest of the contest, creating tries for wingers Patrick Ah Van and Manu Vatuvei - both converted brilliantly by Michael Witt - which gave them every chance of a famous comeback victory.
With the score trimmed to 12-18 seven minutes from time, the Vodafone Warriors came at North Queensland with several assaults, threatening to score on three occasions. But each time the Cowboys found a way to deny them, holding on for a six-point win that moved them into third place.
Earlier two key decisions had a major effect on the flow of the match.
The first came in the 29th minute when Vodafone Warriors fullback Wade McKinnon went over for what seemed to be a brilliant try to everyone at the ground - even Cowboys supporters - and those watching coverage of the match.
But referee Tony Archer referred the 'try' to video ref Steve Nash who somehow found a reason to rule it out, evidently on an obstruction call.
The call stunned the Vodafone Warriors and their fans with television commentators also wondering why the try hadn't been awarded.
It would have made the score 6-6 - the try was scored between the posts - but just 10 minutes later there was another setback for the visitors.
Ah Van became entangled with Cowboys winger Ty Williams as they both chased a kick into the Vodafone Warriors' in-goal area. The ball rolled dead but Archer called on Nash to check the incident out. Nash came back with a penalty ruling against Ah Van for interference off the ball and Archer sent him to the sin bin for 10 minutes.
Just seconds later Carl Webb profited from the penalty, Johnathan Thurston converted and a scoreline that ought to have been 6-6 was now 12-0 in the Cowboys' favour at the break.
In the 46th minute it became 18-0 as the Vodafone Warriors conceded a try to former team-mate Sione Faumuina. He plucked a chip kick out of the air and dashed 50 metres for a heartbreaking try. With Ah Van off the field, the Vodafone Warriors had yielded 12 crucial points.
But once they were restored to 13 men, the Vodafone Warriors began to dictate the flow of the match.
They dominated territory, made far more ground than the Cowboys and also maintained a tight defence, missing just 10 tackles in the second half.
In time they found success, shifting the ball slickly to the right for Ah Van to score his third try of the season.
Witt maintained his 100 per cent record since taking up the goal kicking for the side, making it 14 from 14.
And in the 73rd minute it became a six-point ball game when Witt's deft chip kick in behind North Queensland's defence produced a memorable try for Vatuvei on the opposite wing. In his 50th match, he brought up 100 NRL points with his 25th try, maintaining a rate of a try every second match. Witt stretched his success rate to 15 from 15 under enormous pressure, slotting the sideline conversion superbly.
But try as they did, the Vodafone Warriors weren't quite able to take their fightback one last step to at least extra time.
Captain Steve Price produced another exceptional display, chewing up an amazing 223 metres from 28 runs on the back of an energy-sapping third State of Origin match.
Fellow veteran Ruben Wiki was also in strong touch with 128 metres from his 15 runs and Micheal Luck, in front of his old home crowd, was relentless on defence. He finished with 42 tackles and not one miss again.
At Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville:
Vodafone Warriors 12 (Patrick Ah Van, Manu Vatuvei tries; Michael Witt 2 conversions).
North Queensland Cowboys 18 (Ashley Graham, Carl Webb, Sione Faumuina tries; Johnathan Thurston 2 conversions; Ashley Graham conversion).
Halftime: 12-0 Cowboys.
Referee: Tony Archer.
|posted by NZ WARRIORS|
|Gino Di Leva said...||7/11/07|
|we got diddled, that no try to McKinnon was crap....Rovelli and Fien had games to forget. Wade was brilliant, and Lauaki showing signs of being a good go to man.|
Still think we can make top8, this game in weekend is must win
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