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Roosters Downed in Magic Round Slugfest

The Sydney Roosters were unable to overcome the North Queensland Cowboys in miserable conditions at Suncorp Stadium, fighting to the final minutes in a 20-6 defeat. 

The Roosters were valiant in their efforts, but couldn't break the Cowboys defence until the final minute of the match, where Angus Crichton muscled his way over the stripe. 

Billy Smith impressed in his NRL return, breaking eight tackles and running 169 metres but the wet conditions didn't favour the Tricolours, who struggled to grasp the ball throughout the afternoon.

Jaxson Paulo looked certain to score in the Roosters' second set, receiving a Chad Townsend bomb before racing 70-metres up-field. The young flyer put an impressive fend on the Cowboys' veteran as he continued his charge towards the try-line but was taken into touch by Valentine Holmes who utilised the wet conditions to slide the winger over the sideline. 

Paulo Races Away

Riding their way in their attacking half from repeat sets, Holmes coughed up North Queensland's opening try-scoring chance in the 10th minute after the centre failed to collect a pass that would've sent him through a gap. 

Starved of possession, the Roosters tirelessly defended back-to-back sets on their line before the Cowboys found the stripe through Rueben Cotter, who was gifted an offload from Coen Hess that opened the Tricolours' line in the 19th minute. Holmes added the extras from in-front to give North Queensland a six-point advantage.

Buoyed by the injection of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sitili Tupouniua, the Roosters entered dominant field position after being awarded consecutive sets, but couldn't hang onto the ball in wet conditions as the Cowboys rushed up in defence to halt the left edge raid. 

The Roosters scrambled towards the try-line after a quick tap-on pass from Joseph Manu unleashed returning centre Billy Smith through the North Queensland line before the 23-year-old offloaded to Luke Keary. 

Penalised for tackling the Irish International without the ball, the Cowboys sent the play to the Bunker, and, after numerous replays, had the decision overturned as footage demonstrated Keary's fingertips had touched the ball before Cotter made impact. 

Two minutes later the Roosters lost their Captain's Challenge after appealing a knock-on call against Manu, with the referee ruling Jake Granville has the right to wrap his hands around the ball. 

A final-minute field-goal attempt by Townsend waved to the right, leaving the margin at just one converted try. 

The Roosters opened the second stanza with an attempt to replicate Tupouniua's Round 9 try against the Warriors, after Brandon Smith poked a sneaky grubber into the in-goal, but the Tongan representative failed to gather possession.

A grubber from the Cowboys' skipper was uncharacteristically spilt by Nat Butcher into the in-goal in the 45th minute, with Manu racing shoulder-to-shoulder with Jack Gosiewski to gather the loose ball.

Originally ruled a no-try, the Bunker intervened to award North Queensland their second four-pointer deeming simultaneous grounding between the five-eighth and the second-rower. Holmes kicked the conversion from close range to double the Cowboys' lead.

Generating something from nothing, a Scott Drinkwater bomb was chased down by Murray Taulagi who raced down the sideline before sending an inside ball to Townsend who strolled over the stripe two minutes later. 

The Roosters were forced to defend for their lives after the Cowboys maintained a mountain of possession following multiple infringements within 20 metres of the try-line. A pass from Townsend failed to find Cotter, affording the Tricolours some breathing space. 

Absorbing the pressure in defence, the Red, White and Blue forced two back-to-back goal-line dropouts, however, failed to generate an opportunity in attack. 

Holmes kicked a penalty goal in the 74th minute to carry the Cowboys to a 20-point lead, all but ending the Roosters Magic Round record. 

A consolation try to Angus Crichton in the final minute, courtesy of a Keary cut-out ball, was converted by Samoan Star Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii to reduce the margin to 14-points on the siren. 

Crichton Crosses in the Final Minute

Sydney Roosters 6 (Angus Crichton try, Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii goal) def by North Queensland Cowboys 20 (Rueben Cotter, Jake Gosiewski, Chad Townsend tries, Valentine Holmes 4 goals)

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.