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North Queensland winger Murray Taulagi replicated his wizardry skills from last year's Magic Round to help guide the Cowboys to a much-needed 20-6 win over the Roosters.

Taulagi helped set up the Cowboys' third try of the afternoon out of nothing and put the game beyond doubt with a double-kick effort to send Chad Townsend over the line and set up an 18-0 lead.

The play gave Todd Payten's side an almighty advantage as the Roosters struggled to have any momentum with their completion rate sitting at under 70 percent for most of the contest.

A penalty goal late sealed victory against a Roosters side who was kept scoreless for the first time since Round 16, 2021. 

Both sides spent the opening 10 minutes fending off torrential rain and light hail at Suncorp Stadium as the heavens opened up at kick-off to create a different scene to the match played between the Dragons and Wests Tigers only moments earlier.

Cotter opens the scoring

The Cowboys got on the board first to lead 6-0 with a flat ball from Reece Robson to Coen Hess enabling the prop to pop an offload for Reuben Cotter to go over next to the posts.

They extended their lead with a Townsend five minutes into the second half when Jack Gosiewski pounced on a Nat Butcher error in-goal to get the ball down simultaneously according to the NRL Bunker. 

Tupouniua with a bone rattler

Taulagi's effort minutes later made the Roosters' challenge a tough one to overcome and their afternoon only worsened when the errors continued to mount and the Cowboys' defence remained on song close to the line.

A try to Angus Crichton with a minute left gave the Tricolours a small consolation but it was too little, too late as the Cowboys got back in the winner's circle. 

Match snapshot

  • The Roosters lost Egan Butcher early in the match to a failed head injury assessment. 
  • North Queensland's win was their first in six games against the Roosters.
  • Valetine Holmes reached 500 career points for the Cowboys with a conversion in the second half. 
  • The Cowboys produced 754 kick metres compared to the Roosters' 496 in a clear point of difference between the two sides.
  • All five of the Cowboys' backline ran for over 100 metres in the win, including Valentine Holmes who ran for 169 metres to top the yardage count.
  • The Roosters came up with 17 errors in the loss, completing at 69 per cent overall. 
  • The Roosters' loss was their first at Magic Round since 2019.

Play of the game

It was one of the plays of Magic Round with Murray Taulagi's effort to keep the ball in play with the boot giving the Cowboys an unbeatable lead. 

Taulagi provides another magic pass in magic round

What they said

"It was a tough week. I challenged our players and challenged our character after the back of last weekend. I said this month was going to be character-revealing and I liked what I saw every minute of every day at training and the same with that contest then. I thought we got punched in the face [last week] and just didn't do anything about it. I can cop losing if we are going after it and fighting hard. It was a different team there tonight." - Cowboys coach Todd Payten.

"We had to play in the [wet] conditions last week but the end of sets became very important and we conceded two and built no pressure on the other end. That was certainly an error that was quite poor. We've had some good wins and poor performances. They tackled well and pressured well. We were looking for some relief through them rather than working for it. When you're relying on motivation to play this game you're in trouble. You're going to yo-yo each week. - Roosters coach Trent Robinson.

NRL Press Conference: Roosters v Cowboys - Round 10, 2023

What's next 

The Roosters will dust themselves off and prepare for clash against premiers Penrith at BlueBet Stadium on Friday. With a five-day turnaround scheduled, Egan Butcher is unlikely to feature after failing a head injury assessment while Trent Robinson said Sam Walker was no guarantee to come back into the side. The Cowboys will turn their attention to a home game against the struggling Dragons. Tongan wrecking-ball Jason Taumalolo could make a return from a knee injury.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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