Cowboys inflict more pain on embattled Griffin and Dragons

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North Queensland have heaped more misery on St George Illawarra and coach Anthony Griffin, consigning the Dragons to a sixth straight defeat in a 42-22 win in Townsville.

The visitors were blown away on Saturday night in a 10-minute first-half Cowboys blitz when they conceded three tries while having a player in the sin bin.

St George Illawarra had their second-half opportunities and found tries to Jaydn Su’a, Mikaele Ravalawa and Moses Suli but handling errors ended any chance of a comeback win in skipper Ben Hunt’s milestone 300th game.

The Dragons’ board is expected to meet on Tuesday as questions mount over Griffin’s future as coach.

But where there is pressure on one side, the valve is slowly releasing on another.

North Queensland secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season and did so with defensive tenacity and attacking vigour.

The Dragons’ opened the scoring but they were clinically punished by the Cowboys when Jayden Sullivan spent 10 minutes in the sin bin midway through the first half.

Anthony Griffin looks on after the Dragons’ heavy loss to the Cowboys.Credit: Getty

With the scores level at 6-6 following tries to Jack De Belin and Kyle Feldt, a short kick-off was gathered by booming second-rower Heilum Luki to send Feldt on his way downfield on a 60m dash.

Sullivan found himself caught up in the tackle and was penalised for a professional foul which led to his sin-binning.

From there the Cowboys fired on all cylinders.

The ensuing set saw fullback Scott Drinkwater evade three tacklers and hand Jack Gosiewski a try before a break by Townsend gave a flat-footed Luki some space on the right edge and he beat three Dragons players from a standing start for the Cowboys’ third try.

Drinkwater’s sleight of hand made it three tries with a man advantage in the 27th minute, reversing inside to Valentine Holmes from a set-play in midfield with the centre lobbing inside to Tom Dearden to dive over untouched.

Holmes, Dearden, Drinkwater and Townsend all had stellar opening halves but the true threat was Luki, who provided spark, power and speed to their right edge.

The imposing second-rower hit the sheds with 109 run metres, one line-break and five tackle-breaks to go with his first try of the season.

Holmes slotted a 45-metre two-point field goal on the stroke of half-time as North Queensland equalled their highest total points score this season in the opening 40 minutes.

Luki, Feldt and Dearden all crossed again in the second half as North Queensland ran away with the game.


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