The North Queensland Cowboys were unequal to the task of maintaining a 14 – 0 halftime advantage over the Cronulla Sharks last night. They failed to score after the break and Cronulla did just enough to win with 18 points to make the final score 18 – 14 in favour of the reigning premiers in this year’s Telstra NRL Premiership competition.
From the outset, it looked as though NQ was not going to need a bigger boat to land the Sharks, but they could have used an assist in dealing with Andrew Fifita, who seized control of the game and changed the Sharks’ fortunes. He ran for 188 metres, made 34 tackles and was credited with an assist on a try.
Fifita was auditioning for a role with the NSW Blues for State of Origin, the selections for which will be made at the outset of next week, and he made a strong case for himself in the eyes of Blues Coach Laurie Daley.
The Sharks appeared snake-bit in the early going, when they were denied an early try, only to see that come back immediately to haunt them when Antonio Winterstein scored on the next set.
Cowboys’ winger Kyle Feldt then felt the time appropriate to set up one try, and then score one himself.
The Sharks scored in the 50th minute with a try by fellow Blues hopeful James Maloney swing the momentum in the Sharks’ favour, and then Fifita launched his heroics.