Round 4 Match 4 Results: North Queensland Cowboys 32 v Gold Coast Titans 18

On Saturday night at Dairy Farmers Stadium the Titans suffered their first defeat for 2010 when an in-form Cowboys made the most of their home ground advantage and secured a 32 – 18 victory in the Easter Queensland derby match.

Once again North Queensland proved their dominance when playing at home and this time their star player Johnathan Thurston teamed up with Willie Tonga to give the fans one hell of a game.

It was a fresh faced team that defeated the Titans as three young players made their debut for North Queensland, centre Will Tupou, fullback Shannon Gallant and prop Leeson Ah Mau. And some old faces were missing as Carl Webb, Grant Rovelli and Steve Southern were dropped from the line-up.

Gold Coast fans were given an early glimmer of hope when Mark Minichiello scored the first try of the game 17 minutes in and Mat Rogers conversion saw the visitors lead 6 – 0.

But less than 10 minutes later North Queensland opened their account and asserted their dominance when Willie Tonga scored his first of a hat-trick of tries in the 26th minute. The brilliant Thurston, who proved his skill by converting all five of the Cowboys tries, then bought the score in favour of the home team 8 – 6.

The Titans failed to score again in the first half, but the Cowboys on the other hand managed two more, a determined one by Luke O’Donnell in the 35th minute and another by Tonga just four minutes later giving them a 18 – 6 lead heading into half time.

In the second half it was more good news for the Cowboys as Thurston kicked a penalty four minutes in.

The Gold Coast tried to fight back, with Sam Tagataese getting over the line in the 51st minute to narrow the margin to 20 – 12.

But less than five minutes later the Cowboys showed why they are unstoppable in front of their home crowd, with Tonga scoring his third try of the night in the 55th minute.

Minichiello managed a double, easing the Titans’ pain slightly scoring in the 69th minute but despite Rogers’ conversion it wasn’t enough to beat the Cowboys as Thurston topped off a marvellous game by scoring a 73rd minute try to give North Queensland a 32 – 18 victory.

The Gold Coast obviously missed the help of Scott Prince out with a broken thumb and a back injury saw them play without Anthony Laffranchi as well.