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Manly storm home to beat Cowboys

Steve Matai

Manly have returned to the NRL's top-four while putting a further dent in the finals hopes of the North Queensland Cowboys after a 34-14 win in Townsville.
Manly storm home to beat Cowboys
by AAP

By Liam Butterworth

TOWNSVILLE, July 15 AAP - Manly have returned to the NRL's top-four while putting a further dent in the finals hopes of the North Queensland Cowboys after a 34-14 win in Townsville.

The Cowboys were missing State of Origin quartet Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, James Tamou and Brent Tate but were buoyed by the surprise return of veteran fullback Matt Bowen after seven weeks on the sideline following knee surgery.


But not even the return of the 262-game veteran could help the Townsville team, who are languishing in 13th place on the ladder, six points outside the eight.

The home team did take the lead just after the restart but were consigned to their 11th loss of the season and must win the remainder of their seven games if they are any hope of reaching their third straight finals series.

Bowen added instant security under the high ball to the Cowboys side, a weakness with other custodian Clint Greenshields, but it was from a Cowboys kick that Manly opened the scoring through David Williams in the 11th minute with a good team try that started on their own 12m line.

It was the first of a couple of good team tries by the Sea Eagles, Williams again in the action in the 46th minute, finishing off another play that started with a line break by debutant halfback Peta Hiku and passed through three more sets of Manly hands.

That try came minutes after the Cowboys had grabbed the lead back through pivot Michael Morgan, who took advantage of a bad bounce on Manly fullback Brett Stewart and scored his own grubber kick on 42 minutes.

But that was the last piece of joy for the Cowboys, as the Sea Eagles ran in three more tries over some lacklustre Cowboys defence.

Jorge Taufua, Justin Horo and Steve Matai made it look easy as they crossed the line in the final half-hour to hand the Townsville team their second straight loss.




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