Townsend kicks Cowboys previous resilient Raiders

Murray Taulagi scores the Cowboys’ season-opening strive of their 19-18 win over the Canberra Raiders. (Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS)

By Fraser Barton in Townsville

A CHAD Townsend subject objective 5 minutes from full time has edged North Queensland previous Canberra 19-18 in a see-sawing NRL round-one contest in Townsville.

With the clock ticking down, Harley Smith-Shields’ error on a short-side play gifted the Cowboys a scrum in midfield and on sort out 4 Townsend made no mistake from 20 metres to kick his aspect to a profitable begin in 2023.

Townsend’s kick salvaged a disastrous second half for the house aspect, who – after dominating the opening interval – fully capitulated offensively and provided the resilient Raiders a method again into the competition.

North Queensland had dominated the opening proceedings, enjoying with persistence, confidence and spark to realize territory and possession.

That swagger shortly disappeared within the second half with consecutive errors inside 5 minutes. The Raiders wrangled momentum with onerous, straight operating and brief passing from contact to put on the Cowboys down.

Tom Starling made probably the most of a deflected kick to attain Canberra’s second strive within the 53rd minute earlier than Kyle Feldt’s spilled ball off a brief drop-out gifted Jack Wighton their third.

That made it three unanswered tries from the guests, Jamal Fogarty nailing a sideline conversion to tie the sport at 18-18 with 20 minutes remaining.

The gamers have been out on their toes within the sticky Townsville circumstances nevertheless it was the Cowboys who coped greatest in a manic end to finish Canberra’s four-year round-one profitable streak.

It took North Queensland quarter-hour to open their 2023 scoring account after fixed and sustained strain on the Raiders’ try-line.

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The Cowboys had 73 per cent possession by means of quarter-hour and 17 tackles contained in the Raiders’ 20m zone.

Murray Taulagi grabbed North Queensland’s opener with a left-hand diving end, earlier than Scott Drinkwater added a second after a deft inside grubber kick by Townsend.

The fullback bagged his second, and the Cowboys’ third, when Reece Robson grubbered by the posts for a somersault put-down.

Robson registered only one kick in 2022 and had a try-assist together with his first try in 2023.

Emre Guler responded simply previous to halftime in Canberra’s first and solely alternative in North Queensland’s pink zone after they have been blown away within the early phases.

The guests have been compelled to defend like mad for set after set, having simply 30 per cent possession and a mere 18 per cent territory by means of 40 minutes.

Ricky Stuart’s aspect made 97 extra tackles than their opponents and solely accomplished seven units to the Cowboys’ 21 from 22.

The Raiders’ Jordan Rapana was not cited by referee Adam Gee for a shoulder cost on Drinkwater however is more likely to face the match-review panel over the Twenty seventh-minute incident.