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Rising Wests Tigers maul Cowboys

Matt Encarnacion, Western Sydney Correspondent NRL.com Sat, Apr 12, 2014 - 9:20 PM

Wests Tigers prop Aaron Woods takes on the Cowboys defence during their Saturday night clash at Campbelltown. Copyright: Robb Cox/NRL Photos Copyright: Robb Cox/NRL Photos

The Wests Tigers have registered a hard fought 16-4 victory over North Queensland at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday night.

Yet it may have come at serious cost, with captain Robbie Farah leaving the field late in the game with a possible dislocated elbow.

In front of a poor crowd of 6456, the joint venture club backed up last week's impressive win with a professional victory over a Cowboys side that never really found their rhythm.

Despite missing key men James Tedesco and Braith Anasta, a slick-looking Tigers outfit were professional and disciplined in recording their fourth win in their past five games.

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An early kick out on the full by Tigers halfback Luke Brooks led to a Cowboys penalty in their opposition red zone, but in what was the only scoring opportunity inside the opening 30 minutes, Cowboys goal-kicker Johnathan Thurston hooked his attempt.

It wasn't until the 31st minute that first points hit the scoreboard, but it was well worth the wait.

Dancing across field in the Cowboys' attacking third, a Thurston floater to Tariq Sims was almost intercepted by Tigers halfback Luke Brooks, who would've raced the 70m untouched to score. But when the ball went to ground instead, the Cowboys' money man showed excellent reactionary skills, picking up the loose ball one-handed, slicing through the defensive line and finding a supporting Brent Tate on his right edge. Thurston failed to swing his conversion through but his side gained the early 4-0 lead.

It was a well-deserved try to the decorated Cowboys centre, who was responsible for most of his side's enterprising play in the first half, including a couple of superb offloads. But it didn't take the home side didn't take long to find a reply.

A quick play-the-ball by afro-haired prop James Gavet close to the line allowed hooker Farah to dart out of dummy half and squeeze between slow-footed big men Matt Scott, Scott Bolton and Jason Taumalolo to score under the posts. Add in Pat Richards' two points and the Tigers waltzed into the half-time break with a 6-4 lead.

It didn't take them long to find their feet again in the second half. Minutes after Richards saved a certain try with his basketball-like leap to deny a Thurston assist to Matthew Wright, five-eighth Blake Austin matched his rival five-eighth's quick-thinking in the first half with some dazzling magic of his own.

Standing at first receiver, Farah fired a grubber across the field that ricocheted first off Tariq Sims' shoulder - and then the left upright – before landing into Austin's breadbasket and allowing him to score under the posts. Richards' extras took the lead to 12-4.

Momentum continued to stay with the hosts, who had three straight sets on the Cowboys line but couldn't convert the possession into points. Matthew Wright denied the hosts a certain try in the 61st minute when he rushed out of line, while Lawrence almost crashed his way over two minutes later.

The Cowboys almost scoredagainst the run of play in the 70th minute when halfback Robert Lui's flick pass put Tate into space, only for Thurston to mishandle the inside pass.

That mistake proved costly for the visitors, who then had to watch Farah again dance across field, dummy inside, and then fire a cut out pass to Richards to seal the game in the 74th minute.

There was a scare late in the game when Farah was taken off field with a possible dislocated elbow, but early reports were that it slotted back into place straight away.

Wests Tigers 16 (Farah, Austin, Richards tries; Richards 2 goals) def North Queensland Cowboys 4 (Tate try). Crowd: 6456.