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North Queensland Cowboys vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: 5 things we learned

Reigning Premiers Cronulla have returned to the top four courtesy of a 26-16 victory over a brave and injury-depleted North Queensland Cowboys outfit.

The Sharks have returned to winning ways after two fairly disappointing displays, however there was still some questions which remained unanswered. Cronulla took the points, but it was their injury-hit opponents who won a multitude of praise for another courageous display. This was particularly the case in the second half, when the visitors only added one penalty goal to their tally.

Here’s five things we learned: 

1. A game of two halves

The Sharks ended a two-game rut to get back to winning ways, but it came in unconvincing fashion. The cliche is overused but it really was a game of two halves.

In the first 40, Cronulla played some slick football and notched four converted tries. They only added two points in the second stanza however as the game evened out.

They will have to put together 80 minute performances sooner rather than later if they want to defend their title. Other top teams, especially at full strength, can punish their opponents for failing to convert their opportunities.

2. Cowboys show courage again

The Cowboys; injury woes have been well-documented. Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Gavin Cooper, Antonio Winterstein and Justin O’Neill were all ruled out of the match already before Lachlan Coote became a late withdrawal.

Jason Taumalolo and stand-in captain Michael Morgan both had head injury assessments during the clash, the latter receiving a HIA for the second successive week.

Unfortunately, youngster Kalyn Ponga and prop John Asiata became the latest to add their names to the extensive injury list.

Yet despite the injuries, the Cowboys continued to display courage and bravery. This was particularly true in the second half, when they repelled wave after wave of attacks by the Sharks.

3. Cowboys need to take control of top eight destiny

Despite this loss to the Premiers, the Cowboys will remain in the top eight thanks to Brisbane beating the Dragons.

They may not be so lucky next week as another loss could see them replaced by St George so they need to pick up some points in their last two games, which come against the Tigers and the Broncos.

4. Absence of Lachlan Coote apparent

Fullback Coote was a late withdrawal from the match courtesy of the injury from last week, and his absence proved to be vital. Utility Ben Hampton Ponga both played in the number one role during the game. 

However, it became apparent at that Coote’s safety under the high ball and his awareness in defence was sorely missed. 

Hampton can play anywhere but the position of fullback is not something he specialises in. Ponga
is known for being sensational in attack, but he found out of position for a couple of the Sharks’ tries.

Cowboys fans will be hoping for Coote to return for the remaining two crucial games.

5. No such thing as an easy game

Storm Craig Bellamy was right on the money when he said that there’s no such thing as an easy game. North Queensland face a Tigers side who are intent on avoiding the golden spoon in their next outing before a derby match against the Broncos.

It wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see the result go either way in those games and the same can be said for the Sharks’ run-in. They have fellow high-flyers Sydney Roosters before a trip to face a rejuvenated Newcastle side.

What did you think of the Sharks’ win at the Cowboys?  Discuss in the comments below!

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Rob Sebastian

My name is Rob Sebastian. I absolutely love my sports, especially tennis and all forms of football. I love playing them as well, as I play tennis. I am a masters student, as well as a public servant and owner of a cleaning business.

North Queensland Cowboys vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: 5 things we learned

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