In a slugfest of a first half, the Tigers’ patient football paid dividends going into the break as they led 10-6. But a barnstorming finish from the Cowboys saw them claim this all important clash ahead of their local derby next week.
1 The 'Cleary' impact taking effect
His son Nathan has been a hot topic in recent weeks and Ivan Cleary showed his worth in this victory. The Tigers ground their way to a half-time lead on Friday night and for 65 minutes it looked as if their efforts would be repaid.
It was the type of footy that the Tigers were devoid of a few months ago, with the big four unable to get the team going or staying calm in the heat of the battle. Cleary gave the team a clear game plan that they stuck to and it was polished off by a few moments of class and barnstorming runs.
The players may have been the ones who scored the Cowboys' points but Cleary also deserves credit for this win.
2 Johnathan who?
The Cowboys have been without Johnathan Thurston but they still tore the Tigers defence to shreds due to the impact of Michael Morgan and Te Maire Martin.
Morgan's ability to craft a chance out of nothing was deadly while Martin had his best game in a Cowboys jersey.
3 Cowboys can hurt any team they play
The Cowboys suffer from a lack of concentration in defence on occasion but their fight and resilience cannot be questioned.
North Queensland's week one finals opponent, should they reach them, is unknown. But they will give any side a run for their money - including the Storm.
4 Tigers reborn
Tuimoala Lolohea and David Nofoaluma are just two of the players who have come on leaps and bounds under Cleary. Esan Marsters has flourished since being promoted to the first grade with the Tigers boasting a healthy mix of youth with experience.
The team exemplifies a new culture and they look like they believe once more.
2018 could be an exciting year for Tigers fans.
5 Cowboys' season starts now
Other than some incisive runs from Martin and tackles from Antonio Winterstein, the Cowboys were off the boil for 60 minutes. Facing the Broncos next Thursday could be helpful as the Cowboys need a real helter-skelter challenge to test their Premiership credentials.
They will take confidence from the last five weeks and can now mount a serious charge towards the first Sunday in October.
6 Woods and Tedesco to go out as winners
The Tigers have shown that they are a more than capable side in recent weeks. They took the scalp of the Sea Eagles while tight losses to the Roosters and the Cowboys have them prepped for a win against the Warriors next week.
It would be a fitting way to finish, with local stars Aaron Woods and James Tedesco moving on from the club.
What were your highlights from the Cowboys' win? Let us know in the comments below.
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