Cowboys win dour contest
A try from Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein – the only one of the game – in the final three minutes of play has seen North Queensland prevail 8-0 over the Wests Tigers, to set a club record of eight-straight wins.
With both teams missing their props and captains greatly, with Robbie Farah, Aaron Woods, Matt Scott and James Tamou on Origin duty and Keith Galloway (hip) injured, the try scoring chances were few and far between – with a combined 19 errors and 13 penalties marring proceedings.
The only try of the game came thanks to an uncharacteristic error from Tigers fullback James Tedesco who dropped the ball into the hands of Cowboys centre Kane Linnett, who was able to get away an offload to Winterstein who weaved his way past Kevin Naiqama and Delouise Hoeter to score.
North Queensland coach Paul Green praised his side's performance.
"You only get two points from it, so it doesn't matter how you win," Green said.
"I'm just really proud of the effort from the boys tonight, particularly defensively, it's our first nil scoreline this year and that's what won the game for us. We won it on the back of our defence.
"It was a really spirited performance from us and we showed a lot of character. Hopefully we can take a lot of confidence in our defence out of a game like that."
After a very ordinary first 29 minutes with five errors and five penalties between both teams dictating the nature of the game, it would take a penalty goal from Ethan Lowe to finally see points appear on the scoreboard – the only points of the first stanza.
A chance to level up in the final three minutes of the half for the Tigers came back to haunt them as they failed to cross the try-line, despite their best efforts, to see out a 2-0 Cowboys lead at halftime.
"I actually said at halftime, we don't need to score any more points as long as we just need to keep defending as we have been," Green said.
"I didn't think 2-0 would win but when we got under 10 minutes I thought maybe that was going to be the case."
The Tigers would have to make do without their returning attacking weapon Tim Simona (ankle) for the remainder of the game as well, after aggravating an ankle injury suffered in the Pacific Test three weeks ago.
A huge break from Ava Seumanufagai looked to finally break the deadlock for the Tigers after 45 minutes but the young prop was consequentially held up over the line, before he dropped the ball two tackles later.
Second-string play from Tigers five-eighth Mitchell Moses saw him kick down field for Naiqama with the line wide open in the 53rd minute, however with opposite winger Winterstein chasing the Tigers winger failed to place the ball down when it mattered most.
While the Tigers tried their hardest to break the 2-0 deadlock over the course of the final quarter of the game, it was all in vane as the Cowboys sealed the win through Winterstein's fourth four-pointer for the year.
North Queensland Cowboys 8 (Antonio Winterstein Try; Ethan Lowe 2 Goals) defeated Wests Tigers 0 at Campbelltown Stadium. Crowd: 8267 Halftime: Cowboys 2-0.