Cowboys thrash Eels after slow start

Error-riddled North Queensland still had too much in the tank for Parramatta on Monday night, laying on 36 points in 33 minutes to thrash the Eels 46-4.

Expected to pile on a cricket score, the home side was sluggish for much of the first hour with a host of errors keeping the Eels in the match.

But the points came in a hurry in the second half as the Cowboys hammered the under-siege visitors.

It has been a season to forget for Parramatta, with salary cap concerns, dramas with halfback Chris Sandow which culminated in his eventual release to the English Super League and a shopping list of injuries headlined by Corey Norman, Danny Wicks and Anthony Watmough.

The early signs were ominous for the Eels, as Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein crossed in the fifth minute and lock Jason Taumalolo barged over nine minutes later to open up a 10-0 lead.

But a fleet-footed run from Semi Radradra, where he flirted with the touch line before putting fullback Reece Robinson over, cut the deficit to six points.

The Cowboys were uncharacteristically poor with the ball, committing seven first half errors.

Luck didn’t favour them at the start of the second half, with the Parramatta kick-off bouncing between the legs of Cowboys second-rower Ethan Lowe.

That allowed Brad Takairangi the opportunity to cross, but the centre could not control the ball over the line.

It took seven minutes for the Cowboys to find some attacking possession in the second half, and bench hooker Rory Kostjasyn took full advantage, scoring his first try for 2015.

Taumalolo found his second in the 60th minute, Johnathan Thurston’s conversion pushing the lead out to 18.

That crushed the Eels’ resolve, and as prop Darcy Lussick wrestled with Cowboy Matthew Wright, hooker Jake Granville scooted clear to put Kane Linnett over to push the margin out to 24.

Minutes later, Granville cashed in with a try as the Cowboys continued to carve the hapless Eels up.

Lachlan Coote and Wright completed the rout with tries in the final five minutes.

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