Cat­e­gory five flog­ging

Townsville Bulletin - - NRL - by Michael Thompson michael. thompson@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

Ash­ley Graham more than pulled his weight in cross­ing twice for the Cow­boys WHAT per­fect storm?

The North Queens­land Cow­boys turned last week’s dis­ap­point­ing e f f o r t a g a i n s t t h e Ne wc a s t l e Knights on its head af­ter down­ing one of the NRL’s best-oiled ma­chines 34-6 at Dairy Farm­ers Sta­dium last night.

Attitude may have been lack­ing against New­cas­tle but ques­tion marks on their will­ing­ness to suc­ceed were erased com­pletely as the Mel­bourne Storm were thrashed by a team that was sim­ply the bet­ter team on the night.

The ti­tanic strug­gle be­tween Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk for the Aus­tralian No. 7 jumper didn’t quite even­tu­ate but there were plenty of stand-out per­form­ers in the Cow­boys camp.

It’s just a shame only 9554 spec­ta­tors got to see them first-hand.

No r t h Q u e e n s l a n d d e b u t a n t Kal­ifa Fai Fai Loa showed not a sin­gle hint of nerves in his first out­ing for the Cow­boys.

Bet­ter yet, the 21-year-old New Zealand prod­uct dis­played out­right ag­gres­sion as he pro­duced an awe­some kick-re­turn that even­tu­ated in Matty Bowen rac­ing un­der­neath the posts in the game’s big­gest ‘ ‘ wow’ ’ mo­ment. Ev e n f e l l o w young­ster Tariq Sims got into the act, scor­ing his first NRL try with five min­utes left on the clock.

It was no sur­prise that the NRL’s new an­them This Is Our House be­gan to res­onate more and more with the home fans as the Cow­boys be­gan tear­ing apart what was the NRL’S most in-form out­fit.

‘‘ It’s a good feel­ing be­cause it’s a good per­for­mance across the board with our 17 play­ers,’’ Cow­boys coach Neil Henry said in the mo­ments fol­low­ing the win.

‘‘ We can’t get away from the fact that they ( Mel­bourne) were pretty

YOUNG AND HUN­GRY: Ray Thompson shrugs off a tackle by Storm star Billy Slater

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