NRL: Johnathan Thurston wrap around cuts Manly right open.
JASON Taumalolo has shown how a non-Origin forward needs to perform in winter with a 200 metre demolition job that prevented State of Origin claiming another NRL victim.
Manly threatened a boil over late but North Queensland’s finishing ability earned them a relieving 30-26 win.
There is bad news out of the game for North Queensland with Kane Linnett suffering a suspected torn calf.
Since the Super League war ended, no team is better than the Cowboys at clawing back deficits late.
They trailed 22-18 with 15 minutes remaining and looked lethargic clearly impacted by Origin.
Without Taumalolo they probably would have lost.
Taumalolo had an incredible 143 metres at half time, a freak statistic for a forward.
At full time he had two tries, five tackle breaks and 200 metres.
It was one of the most dominant forward performances of the season.
Taumalolo did in attack what Dylan Napa did in defence against the Rabbitohs in round six.
His performance was behind North Queensland’s 18-4 half time lead but Manly shocked the Cowboys with three tries in 11 minutes after half time.
Manly’s three tries in a row were through giant props steam-rolling Cowboys close to the line with Siosia Vava scoring and Addin Fonua-Blake bagging a double.
NRL: Daly Cherry-Evans scores a runaway try off great support play.
The Cowboys lacked energy in the second half, making uncharacteristic errors and allowing Manly’s giant interchange props to steam roll over them.
Manly had lost six games in a row before last night and had been based in Queensland for ten days after they lost to the Titans last week.
Their plan worked and they produced one of their best performances of the season.
The Cowboys would be delighted at emerging with two competition points.
The Cowboys had won all seven home games this season and nine in a row dating back to last year but with 15 minutes remaining they trailed 22-18.
The Cowboys forwards responded in kind, with James Tamou bagging a try and then Taumalolo getting his second.
The injured Michael Morgan was replaced at five-eighth by hooker Rory Kostjasyn who was solid but the Cowboys really missed their playmaker.
Manly had one of their best teams in on the field this season with Jamie Lyon and Cherry-Evans both returning from injury.
With Maroons coach Kevin Walters watching on as Fox Sports commentator, a strong Cherry-Evans performance would have gone a long way to booking a place in Game Three as Morgan’s replacement.
Cherry-Evans has had Ian injury interrupted season due to an ankle sprain but was relentless in attacking the line in the first half but the Cowboys’ defence repeatedly shut him down.
NORTH QUEENSLAND 30 (J Taumalolo 2 L Coote J Tamou A Winterstein tries J Thurston 5 goals) bt MANLY 26 (A Fonua-Blake 2 L Brown D Cherry-Evans S Vave tries J Lyon 3 goals) at 1300SMILES Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Chris Butler. Crowd: 15,854.