Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cool Cowboys toast the Roosters
Cowboys 43 - Roosters 6

It was back to the future for the Cowboys in Townsville as they belted an average Roosters side last night. In taking off where they left off last weekend, the Cowboys were immediately in the zone and caused the Roosters no end of trouble.

The options this Cowboys side possess is simply scary. In the early period the scrumbase combination of Thurston and Smith was dangerous with every handle and on both sides of the ruck. When the Roosters marked up hard on these two, the Cowboys would simply spin it wider to find the Bowen brothers early in the set or a wide running O'Donnell to punch through.

All the usual suspects were impressive for the Cowboys: Thurston, Smith, Bowen Brothers and Steve Southern was a workhouse all night. The other exciting player was Ashley Graham - the former Parramatta flyer was dynamic in attack and solid in defence. After breaking his leg a few years ago at the Eels, the once elusive centre seems to finally be regaining his long lost speed. He gave the Roosters plenty of headaches and was involved in everything last night.

I think the late try scored by Matt Bowen sums up how the Cowboys are playing at the moment. 10m out from the Roosters line, Bowen hits it up and turns it back on the inside for Carl Webb. Webb goes through a small gap and attracts two defenders including Roosters fullback Minichiello. Webb simply flick passes the ball back inside to Bowen who drops it, but toes it on before it hits the ground. Bowen then chases it up to score untouched! This play shows the Cowboys are brimming with confidence and making their own luck.

For the Roosters, I can almost hear Nick Politis screaming down the phone lines. The club boss would no doubt be furious and surely would already be pointing the fingers at coaches and players.

Sure, the Roosters weren't at their best tonight - but really, I think the Cowboys would have made any NRL team look ordinary.

The Roosters never slowed the ruck down successfully. On the rare occasion they got 4 men into a tackle and pinned the attacker down, the Cowboys would dummy half scoot and expose gaps in the defence line immediately.

Anasta didn't impress at pivot, although the platform wasn't laid by the Roosters forwards. Making life impossible for Pearce and Anasta.

The Roosters seem to be so predictable in attack, if it wasn't one out attack - then the wide angle running with the inside ball to Mini or Topou was easily picked and stopped.

I thought new boy Kenny-Dowell tried hard all night and never stopped. He looked slippery even one out on the fringes and Topou did some impressive things before going off for treatment on a hamstring.

Confidence is killing the Roosters. They simply don't believe. Their 1000th win is still no where in sight and they need to get this monkey off their backs. Soon.

NORTH QUEENSLAND 43 (B Bowen 2, J Thurston 2, M Bowen 2, L O'Donnell tries; J Thurston 6 goals; A Graham goal; A Payne field goal)
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 6 (L Paea try; C Fitzgibbon goal)
Referee: G Badger
Crowd: 21,396 at Dairy Farmers Stadium