The North Queensland Cowboys NYC side have this afternoon applied the pressure to the young Titans, running away 36-18 winners at 1300 Smiles Stadium.
The scoreboard read 12-all at the half-time break but the second half was all the Cowboys, winning six tries to three.
The Cowboys had the weight of possession throughout the early exchanges and turned it into points in the ninth minute of play through Kalyn Ponga. In true Ponga style, it was only the smallest of gaps that he sliced through, running 10m to score just to the left of the uprights. Fullback Murray Taulagi had the kicking duties and converted, giving the home side a 6-nil lead.
Eight minutes later and off the back of building pressure it was the Titans that opened their account. As has happened many time already this season, five-eighth Ethan Roberts combined with fullback Tyronne Roberts-Davis to get the four-pointer. On this occasion it was a grubber back on the inside and Roberts-Davis won the race to the ball, getting it down for the try. Roberts converted it, to level it up at 6-all.
Errors were continuing to hamper the Titans’ efforts and the Cowboys were able to cross for their second try through back rower Brett Anderson. Taulagi again converted with the score now 12-6.
New recruit Keegan Hipgrave wore the Titans colours for the first time and made an immediate impact off the bench, charging through the line to score in the 32nd minute. Roberts again converted with the scores locked up at 12-all.
Neither side could add to their account with it all level at the half-time break.
The start to the second 40 minutes saw the Cowboys cross for two quick tries, putting them in front by two converted tries. The first of them was just two minutes after the restart after back to back penalties put the home side in good field position. It was Solomon Vasuvulagi who was the try scorer, crashing past two defenders. Taulagi converted to make it 18-12.
Six minutes later the Cowboys scored agan through winger Marshall Hudson. It was a ricochet from a grubber that was cleaned up before a further two passes put Hudson into the clear, finishing off a 90m try. Taulagi converted the try, with the scoreboard now reading 24-12.
The visitors needed to be the next to score and centre Daniel Brownbill was the man to do it. Some pressure was mounted and Queensland U20s representative won the race to the grubber to score. Roberts kept his 100% record in-tact, with the score now 24-18 in favour of the Cowboys.
With the match back in the balance it was likely a big moment from a big player would win their side the game and it was Ponga who did it for the Cowboys. The halfback simply took the ball forward, spotted half a gap and turned on the speed, breaking through and going over to score. Taulagi again converted, score now 30-18.
As the full-time siren was sounding, Hudson crossed for his second try and Taulagi also kept a 100% record for the day, with the Cowboys finishing 36-18 victory.
COWBOYS 36 (Ponga 2, Hudson 2, Anderson, Vasuvulagi Tries; Taulagi 6 Goals)
TITANS 18 (Roberts-Davis, Hipgrave, Brownbill Tries; Roberts 3 Goals)
At: 1300 Smiles Stadium