CAUGHT: The Roosters’ Dylan Napa tackled by Cowboys’ Ethan Lowe and James Tamou.
CAUGHT: The Roosters’ Dylan Napa tackled by Cowboys’ Ethan Lowe and James Tamou.

Roosters going nowhere fast after Cowboys demolition

DEFENDING premier North Queensland exposed last year's best defensive side the Roosters with a commanding 40-0 shutout in Townsville.

Last year's minor premiers and the NRL's best defensive side has now conceded 103 points in three straight losses with no indication things are about to change too soon.

The Cowboys raced in two quick tries to centre Kane Linnett in the fourth minute and winger Antonio Winterstein four minutes later, both converted by Johnathan Thurston for a 12-0 lead. To their credit, the Roosters dug in but were hit hard on the stroke of half-time when Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote scored for an 18-0.

There was no way back for Trent Robinson's men who have had to adjust to life without star fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and speedster Michael Jennings and with a number of big name players on the club's long-term injured list, including forward leader Jarred Waerea-Hargreaves and busy forward Boyd Cordner.

Second-half tries to Scott Bolton (49th minute) and Michael Morgan (59th) allowed the Cowboys to cruise out to a 28-0 lead with 10 minutes to play.

When big Jason Taumalolo barged across with less than 10 minutes to go and Michael Morgan grabbed the Cowboys seventh try, the route was complete.  

"We coughed up a bit of ball in the first half. The score line was pleasing," said Thurston. "The boys were good and it was great to bounce back from last week."  

The Roosters' confidence is shot and coach Robinson has a big job on his hands to find some answers.

Roosters skipper Jake Friend, who made 63 tackles, said it was disappointing to lose by that score.  

"We're not shying away from where we are at, we not we have to improve a lot."  

Roosters reserve Ian Anderson appeared to suffer a serious leg injury in the dying minutes.  

The Cowboys now play Brisbane next week in a re-match of their epic grand final last October.  

"That's going to be another level up," said Cowboys prop Matt Scott, whose front-row partner made 224 metres from 21 hit ups.   "They will want to get one back on us."  

NTH QLD 40 (K Linnett, A Winterstein, L Coote, S Bolton, M Morgan, J Taumalolo, K Feldt tries. J Thurston 5 goals) bt ROOSTERS 0 at 1300 Smiles Stadium.

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