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Tonga's power game was enough to earn them a crucial win against the Cook Islands.

Zero minutes: It's a new stadium record crowd at the Leigh Sports Village ground for two of the tournament's more entertaining (if erratic) teams.

3rd minute: Tonga are forced to defend their own tryline with the Cook Islands on the attack, but an accidental offside from the Cooks ends a disappointing attacking set.

7th minute: Glen Fisiiahi starts an attacking raid down the right for Tonga, sending Sika Manu clear for a line break before collecting the return pass to cross for the game's opening points. Samisoni Langi converts, 6-0 Tonga.

10th minute: Cook Islands fullback Drury Low takes a bomb under pressure but is immediately clattered into the in-goal, with the Tongans forcing a dropout. But a mistake early in the set from Tonga lets the pressure off.

12th minute: Isaac John chips a perfectly weighted kick to the left wing, where Chris Taripo takes it on the fly to score for the Cook Islands. He converts his own try, 6-6. 

17th minute: Tonga receives back-to-back penalties but the Cook Islands' goal-line defence holds firm despite bullocking runs from Fuifui Moimoi and Konrad Hurrell.

19th minute: Taripo is in again for the Cook Islands, pouncing on a grubber kick from Drury Low to score in the corner. The Cook Islands lead 10-6.

27th minute: The Cooks continue to attack down Taripo's left edge, running the ball on the last tackle only for the play to break down 10 metres from the tryline.

30th minute: Echoes of Martin Bella circa 1993 as Sam Mataora is rattled by a tackle and plays the ball the wrong way for Cook Islands. Penalty to Tonga 40 metres out.

31st minute: Wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo capitalises on Mataora's mistake, crashing through two would-be tacklers and carrying another couple over the tryline to level the scores. A nice conversion from Langi edges Tonga ahead 12-10.

37th minute: A penalty goal to Langi puts Tonga ahead 14-10 with halftime closing in.

39th minute: Konrad Hurrell steals the show with an unstoppable solo run, bouncing through three defenders to score from 40 metres out. Tonga leads 18-10 at halftime.

43rd minute: The Cook Islands strike back at the start of the second term as Taripo claims his hat-trick, taking a ball from Low and acrobatically diving over in the corner. He converts it from the sideline as well to make it 18-16.

54th minute: More pressure from the Cook Islands forces a Tongan error close to their own line. The Cooks spread the ball left and right during the set and keep the ball alive on the last tackle, but can't find a way through the Tongan defence this time. 

62nd minute: Three straight penalties swing the momentum Tonga's way and they finally turn possession into points when Jorge Taufua is awarded a try by the video referee in the corner. Langi's conversion attempt drifts wide, 22-16.

69th minute: Jordan Rapana bombs a try for the Cook Islands in spectacular fashion, losing control of the ball after crossing over the tryline untouched on the right flank.

70th minute: The Tongans return the favour, with high-flying Roosters winger Daniel Tupou bringing down a bomb in typical fashion before throwing a horrible low pass to an unmarked Glen Fisiiahi in front of the posts.

75th minute: Tonga hooker Pat Politoni sends an opportunistic field-goal attempt wide of the posts.

78th minute: An Isaac John bomb is spilled by Tonga near their own line before Fuifui Moimoi grounds the ball in-goal, but the video referee spots a Cook Islands knock-on so possession goes Tonga's way.

Fulltime: It's all over, with Tonga keeping their slight hopes alive with a narrow 22-16 victory. 

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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