NRL Round 10 – Match 5 Results: New Zealand Warriors 24 v 12 North Queensland Cowboys

Even with the shock early return of skipper Johnathan Thurston, named as part of the North Queensland team on match day, the Cowboys didn’t have the strength to overcome the Warriors when they lost by 12 points at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night.

New Zealand have now worked their way into the top eight, sitting in seventh position thanks to their Heritage Round win and the bye from round nine, finally breaking their three in a row losing streak.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys have sunk to number 14, the second lowest performers of the premiership contenders.

Last week the return of Matt Bowen boosted the Cowboys to a big win ahead of the Roosters, but they couldn’t repeat the feat this time round.

The Warriors were on fire from the kick off, keeping their visitors scoreless for the entire first half while running away with three unanswered tries. It was a nice turnaround for New Zealand who had failed to score in the first 40 minutes of their past three games.

Ukuma Ta’ai got things going 10 minutes in with a try under the posts converted by James Maloney.

Five minutes later Lewis Brown, who was a last minute addition to the team after captain Simon Mannering was withdrawn due to a hamstring injury, extended the home side’s lead with another four-pointer, Maloney converting again so the Warriors lead 12 – nil after 16 minutes.

Before the Cowboys first half woes were over, Ian Henderson scored again for New Zealand in the 31st minute and then Maloney, who had also converted Henderson’s try, kicked a two point penalty in the final minute of the first half so they headed to the break leading by 20 points.

It was a quieter second half on the scoreboard, with Scott Bolton finally opening the Cowboys account with a try in the 51st minute after latching onto a pass from JT.  Thurston booted it through the posts to narrow the deficit to 14.

Picking up some momentum, North Queensland were next to score again when winger Michael Bani got over on the left side five minutes later and with Thurston making it two from two they looked like a chance trailing by just eight with more than 20 minutes still left on the clock.

But any chance of a Cowboys comeback was squashed by New Zealand winger Kevin Locke who put the result beyond doubt with a 70th minute try giving New Zealand the 24 – 12 victory.

It was the Warriors first win at home for the season, and they have another home game this round facing the in-form Rabbitohs. Which team will win? Get behind your favourite with a wager through