Cowboys smash dent into Warriors' finals hopes with convincing win

The Warriors have fallen to a 24-12 defeat to the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville to leave their finals chances in serious doubt.

The two sides went into halftime level at 12-all, before a strong second half performance gave the Cowboys the win.

FULLTIME: Warriors 12 Cowboys 24

Hingano runs on the fourth for the Warriros, trying to level scores. Lino kicks on the last, and everyone goes up. The ball bounces and Bowen snaps it up! He sprints the length of the field and scores! The siren goes and that'll be it!

One last kick from Lowe to come, and he's got it. Game over, possibly season over for the Warriors.

78 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 18

The Warriors giving everything to try and score! Kata runs at the line on the last tackle but is held up over the tryline! So close!

76 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 18

Lachlan Coote has a go at a field goal, but it's hit the upright! The ball is loose and Tuivasa-Sheck gets there first, he's tackled in goal but the Cowboys' defenders were offside. Penalty Warriors.

74 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 18

Lino puts a bomb up now, Coote gathers it safely though as the Cowboys look to close the game out.

71 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 18

Hingano comes off the bench and immidiately injects some life into the Warriors' attack. Foran puts a kick up on the last tackle and Tuivasa-Sheck is after it. The Cowboys keep their cool though and defuse the bomb.

67 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 18

The Cowboys looking dangerous now, Martin kicks on the last but Kata's back to tidy up. He's tackled in goal, line dropout for the Cowboys.

65 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 18

Morgan kicks again to test Maumalo, and again the Warriors winger is up to it. The Warriors start their set on their own 10m line.

60 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 18

TRY! The Cowboys score again! Ethan Lowe scores in the corner, he passes to Feldt before getting it back to go over in the corner and score.

He lines up to convert his own kick, and it's hit the post! Cowboys lead by six.

56 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 14

Coote kicks on the last for the Cowboys and Solomone Kata does brilliantly to save a try, the Warriors have the restart too.

55 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 14

Lino kicks on the last again for the Warriors but there's too much on it, 20m restart for the Cowboys.

52 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 14

Penalty! The Cowboys have a penalty on the Warriors' line! They opt for a shot at goal! Lowe lines up the kick, and he gets it! Cowboys lead by two!

49 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 12

Penalty for the Warriors now! Ayshford goes close but is tackled! Lino kicks through and it bounces off Coote! Foran goes after the loose ball but Cooper gets there first to save a certain try! It looks like Foran's knocked it on, Cowboys scrum.

47 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 12

Foran kicks along the ground on the last and Coote can't hang on! The ball ricochets off the upright and Cooper gets there before being tackled, another line dropout is forced.

45 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 12

Lino kicks on the last for the Warriors and Feldt fields it in goal. Out of nowhere come the Warriors defenders and make the tackle to force a line dropout.

44 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 12

The Cowboys are camped on the Warriors' line. Morgan kicks through on the last but again there's too much on it. The ball goes dead and the Warriors will have a 20m restart.

41 mins: Warriors 12 Cowboys 12

We're back for the second half, can the Warriors take their chances to grab a win here tonight? Feldt kicks off to get the second half underway.

HALFTIME: Warriors 12 Cowboys 12

TRY! But the Warriors hit back instantly! Simon Mannering muscles his way over to score after some more brilliance from Foran. He holds off three defenders to score as the siren goes.

Issac Luke lines up his second kick from a similar position as his first, and he's got it! Even Stevens going into halftime in Townsville!

38 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 12

Lisone gives away a penalty on the halfway line and the Cowboys will have a chance to grab a lead before the break. The Warriors give away another penalty on the third, the Cowboys move the ball quickly, Martin has a crack at the line. Granville kicks on the last and it goes through everyone! Javid Bowen pounces on the loose ball for the easiest try you will ever see from a winger.

The referee checks with the bunker but there's nothing wrong with that one. Lowe makes his second kick of the night as the Cowboys double their lead.

32 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 6

Lisone takes the hitup from the first tackle. Sao runs at the line and is over again but it looks like he's held up too! Mannering takes the restart, Foran finds Kata who drops the ball! Another chance for the Warriors goes to waste.

31 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 6

Kata intercepts and runs at the line! He's bought down and the Warriors move the ball quickly! Lino runs at the line and goes to ground but is he over?! The ref checks with the bunker but declares no try.

No try the decision, but the Warriors will have a penalty from the restart.

28 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 6

Coote kicks on the last and Fusitu'a spills the ball in the in-goal! The ball goes back off Ayshford, who dives on it to force a dropout. Warriors get lucky there.

26 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 6

Te Maire Martin is tackled on the last and the Warriors regain possession. They work the ball upfield until Ayshford kicks on the last. Morgan runs the ball up but Ligi Sao gives away a penalty! The Cowboys with another opportunity to attack from the halfway line.

24 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 6

Danger again for the Warriors! Granville stabs a kick over the top but Tuivasa-Sheck claims the bouncing ball safely. The Warriors try to run the ball out of their own half. Lino kicks on the last and Coote fields. 

21 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 6

TRY! Morgan tries to slice through but is tackled. Granville looking to run the play for the Cowboys who move the ball quickly. Morgan finds Coote who passes a short ball to O'Neill who scores! The Cowboys strike back! 

Ethan Lowe lines up the kick, and it's a beauty! Scores level in Townsville.

19 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 0

Morgan puts another bomb up to test Maumalo, and again the winger comes up with the goods. The Warriors start their set on their own 10m line. Thompson makes some good metres before being tackled. Lino goes to kick on the last but it's a shocker! Out on the full and the Cowboys will restart in the Warriors' half.

17 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 0

Tuivasa-Sheck tries to step through but is tackled! Luke goes close now but is held up over the line! Foran kicks straight away on the restart for Fusitu'a, but Feldt comes up with the ball in the air.

16 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 0

Lino kicks on the last from the next set and again the Cowboys have to force a dropout to get out of trouble.

14 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 0

The Cowboys trying to build from their set. Taumalolo crashes into the line on the fifth and Morgan kicks on the last, Maumalo triumphs though and the Warriors are safe. Taumalolo gives away a penalty, Lino kicks the ball down past the 40m line to restart.

11 mins: Warriors 6 Cowboys 0

TRY!!! The Warriors strike first! Bunty Afoa scores after a brilliant exchange between Foran and Tuivasa-Sheck. Afoa gets the ball after a perfect pass from his skipper and races away to score unchallenged.

Issac Luke will take the kick, and he's got it! What a start for the Warriors.

9 mins: Warriors 0 Cowboys 0

The Warriors have a penalty and start their set on the Cowboys' 20m line. Foran goes close on the fourth but is tackled! Lino kicks on the last looking for Maumalo but Lowe gets back to get rid of the danger and force another dropout.

7 mins: Warriors 0 Cowboys 0

Taumalolo bursts through the Warriors' line! The Cowboys on the charge now. Morgan kicks through but he's got too much on it, it goes dead without really troubling the Warriors, who will have a 20m restart.

5 mins: Warriors 0 Cowboys 0

The Warriors attack again. Lino runs at the line and is through before being bought down by Cooper! He tries to offload but loses the ball when he hits the ground! Huge chance wasted for the Warriors. Cowboys scrum.

3 mins: Warriors 0 Cowboys 0

The Warriors have the ball in their first set of the evening. Matulino crashes up hte middle on the third. Foran finds Afoa on the fourth. Thompson takes the tackle on the fifth. Lino kicks on the last and the ball bounces into the Cowboys' in-goal! Coote gets there to tidy up but is tackled in goal. Dropout for the Cowboys.

KICK OFF!

We're away! The Warriors kick to the Cowboys to get things rolling.

9:29pm

The Warriors make their way out onto the field first, a massive performance needed to re-ignite their season. The Cowboys follow suit, kick off just moments away.

PRE MATCH

Having lost last week's match with the Panthers to farewell club legend Manu Vatuvei, the Warriors are in desperate need of a win to keep their top eight hopes alive.

The Warriors currently sit in 11th position, with a win possibly taking them as high on the ladder as ninth should other results fall their way.

The Warriors' coach talked up incoming halfback Mason Lino in place of the superstar. Source: 1 NEWS

However, any result will now have to come in the absence of both Shaun Johnson, ruled out with a ruptured PCL, and prop James Gavet, sidelined with a broken arm.

Youngster Mason Lino takes the place of the injured Johnson at halfback, while Chris Satae makes his club debut for Gavet.

Their opponents on the other hand are still without talisman Johnathan Thurston, out with a damaged shoulder with former Warriors target Te Maire Martin filling in at five-eighth.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys' leading try scorer Coen Hess will start on the interchange bench for tonight's clash.

TEAMS

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2. David Fusitu'a, 3. Blake Ayshford, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kieran Foran, 7. Mason Lino, 8. Jacob Lillyman, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Ben Matulino, 11. Bodene Thompson, 12. Bunty Afoa, 13. Simon Mannering.

The young halfback will fill in for the injured Shaun Johnson against North Queensland. Source: 1 NEWS

Interchange: 14. Ata Hingano, 15. Sam Lisone, 17. Ligi Sao, 20. Chris Satae.

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O'Neill, 4. Kane Linnett, 21. Javid Bowen, 6. Te Maire Martin, 7. Michael Morgan, 8. John Asiata, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Scott Bolton, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Ethan Lowe, 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Ben Hampton, 15. Coen Hess, 16. Shaun Fensom, 17. Corey Jensen.


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Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy defends Storm from Sharks 'grubs' attack

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says Cronulla's verbal attack on his team is laughable, adding further spice to their NRL preliminary final tomorrow night.

The AAMI Park clash is threatening to erupt after barbs were launched this week from the Sharks, prompting Bellamy to defend his team today.

Sharks prop Matt Prior claimed the Storm practised ugly, niggling tactics.

"Most other clubs in the competition would be sitting back laughing about them calling us grubs," Bellamy said.

"They're trying to make out they're holier-than-thou and they're the squeaky- clean Sharks.

"Well, we all know better than that."

No love has been lost between the two sides since Cronulla's drought-breaking 2016 grand final win, with the Sharks dominating Melbourne since.

Bellamy said the Storm needed to put the blinkers on and focus on playing their own game.

"Whatever that record is we haven't had the best of it but the games have always been close," he said.

Craig Bellamy coach of the Melbourne Storm. Source: Photosport

"We haven't changed things too much, some of our starts have been pretty poor when we've played them but we need to stick to what works for us and stick to the plan."

The Storm were preparing for Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen to play in the grand final qualifier despite a serious shoulder injury.

Gallen's inclusion will set the scene for another round with Storm centre Will Chambers, who was suspended for a grapple tackle on the Sharks forward earlier in the season.

Chambers hasn't played for the past month due to a three-match ban with his Storm coach saying he wanted controlled aggression from the Test and State of Origin centre.

"He's been training hard so hopefully he will be OK," Bellamy said.

"He's played a lot of big games, it's not like he's a 21-year-old coming in.

"Hopefully he's learnt from a couple of games this year when he's been suspended.

"We don't need that from him.

"We need him to go and get his job done and be aware when it's the right time to do certain things and when it's the wrong time."

Billy Slater. Vodafone Warriors v Melbourne Storm, NRL Rugby League round 19, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. 22 July 2018. Copyright Image: Renee McKay / www.photosport.nz
The Storm celebrate in their 12-6 win over the Warriors. Source: Photosport


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'We went away from game plan' - Warriors women eager to bounce back in must win Broncos match

The Warriors women face a tough task ahead of them tomorrow night, as they come up against premiership leaders the Brisbane Broncos in Melbourne in a must win match to keep their finals hopes alive.

Warriors hooker Krystal Rota says her team have learned from their Dragons 22-10 loss in Sydney last week and that her side need to return to what worked for them in their round one win over the Roosters.

"I just think we went away from game plan," said Rota.

"The first game we stuck to our game plan and defensive structures, when we played the Dragons we went away from that and obviously it didn't work for us."

The Warriors have to win tomorrow night's game by a big margin, to secure themselves a spot in next week's grand final.

Onjeurlina Leiataua on attack. Roosters v Warriors, NRL Holden Women's Premiership.  ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia. 8th Sept 2018. Copyright Photo: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz
Warriors women player Onjeurlina Leiataua on attack against the Sydney Roosters. Source: Photosport


The Brisbane Broncos women are undefeated in the competition and are guaranteed a spot in the final.

Warriors hooker Krystal Rota believes her side will learn from their 22-10 loss to the Dragons as they prepare for Brisbane tomorrow night in Melbourne. Source: Te Karere

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Jared Waerea-Hargreaves says Roosters in fine form without enforcer Dylan Napa ahead of NRL finals

The numbers show Jared Waerea-Hargreaves won't rest without front-row starting partner Dylan Napa, but the Sydney Roosters hard man insists it's not a one-man job to uphold a perfect record without the Queenslander this year.

The Roosters will play without Napa for a third straight game in Saturday night's grand-final qualifier against South Sydney, after he was suspended last month for the knock out blow on Brisbane's Andrew McCullough.

Having battled injuries both during and after Queensland's State of Origin campaign before the latest suspension, Napa has missed six games this year - of which the Roosters have won all six.

And he largely has Waerea-Hargreaves to thank for it up front.

The Kiwi prop's top three running games this year have all come while Napa has been missing for either all or the majority of those games, including his herculean 215-metre effort against Penrith in round 15 when his Queensland front row partner had left the field early.

But he maintained it wasn't just he who had stood up this year during any absence in the pack.

"Obviously when you have players like Napa, Sio Siua (Taukeiaho), Zane (Tetevano) in the team with experience, you share the workload," he said.

"When you get these younger boys and they don't play as much time, obviously statistically you are going to do more work because you are out there longer.

"But we have guys in the team like (bench forwards) Lindsay (Collins), (Nat) Butcher and Ryan Matterson that I've really enjoyed their growth this year."

"To see them grow with the confidence they have now 26 rounds in, you build that relationship and trust."

Waerea-Hargreaves and the Roosters' pack have had their help too in terms of the territorial battle.

Cooper Cronk is ranked second in the league for average kick metres, while the 688 metres he booted against Cronulla in week one of the finals was the most by any player in any game this year according to Fox Sports Stats.

Blake Ferguson and James Tedesco are also the NRL's two leading metre-eaters in the competition this year, while Daniel Tupou is ranked sixth to make for the best running and most powerful back three in the NRL to kickstart their sets.

"For myself and Fergo we just love doing it," Tupou said.

"We know it helps the forwards out and puts them on the front foot.

"That helps out not just the forwards but the whole team, especially with Cooper and his kicking game."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves runs the ball during a Sydney Roosters NRL training session at Kippax Lake Oval on September 18, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves runs the ball during a Sydney Roosters NRL training session at Kippax Lake Oval in Sydney. Source: Getty


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'The public's only heard one side of the story' - Bunnies coach defends Sam Burgess over ongoing sexting scandal

South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold says people will soon be able to make up their mind on the sexting scandal that has embroiled Sam Burgess, claiming they had only heard one side of the story.

Seibold was also adamant the off-field controversy had only made the Rabbitohs tougher ahead of Saturday night's NRL preliminary final against Sydney Roosters.

The NRL integrity unit's probe into allegations lewd images were sent to a young woman from one of Burgess' social media accounts are expected to conclude by Thursday despite reports of a setback.

An emotional Burgess addressed the scandal on Tuesday, repeatedly saying he would be "happy for the truth to come out" without going into specifics.

Seibold echoed Burgess' thoughts after saluting his team's resilience for overcoming the off-field distraction in their dramatic 13-12 semi-final win over St George Illawarra.

The allegations were made public on the eve of the Rabbitohs' clash with the Dragons although the alleged incident occurred back in May.

"The public has only heard one side of the story," Seibold told Sky Sports Radio.

"The investigation will hopefully conclude today or tomorrow and then people can make up their own mind on the story that has been out there.

"Obviously it wasn't ideal having the club on the front page and being the lead story on most of the news agencies across the country on Friday and Saturday last week but I thought the guys showed a lot of resolve."

The Rabbitohs may be expecting a verdict before the grand final qualifier however reports suggest the NRL's investigation hit a snag.

Fairfax reported the woman at the centre of the allegations had refused to speak with investigators from both the Rabbitohs and the NRL when contacted while on holiday in South Africa.

Either way, Seibold said the ongoing scandal compounded by back to back one point finals finishes had only steeled his side ahead of their clash with the minor premiers.

South Sydney No.7 Adam Reynolds' three field goals helped the Rabbitohs pull off a stunning one point win over the Dragons a week after falling short 29-28 to Melbourne in a qualifying final.

"I think the hard football is making us tougher," Seibold said.

"And we've shown we can handle pressure. I think we have shown a lot of resolve and resilience.

"We are not fatigued by any means. We are really confident heading into the Roosters game."

Sam Burgess of the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Source: Photosport


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