North Queensland Cowboys won the Dacia World Club Challenge after a seven-try performance saw them beat Leeds Rhinos 38-4 at Headingley.

The Cowboys did well to absorb some early pressure but eventually Michael Morgan ran through for the opening try. Jonathan Thurston missed the conversion, and it proved somewhat costly as Rob Burrows crossed following an offload from Adam Cuthbertson, though Rhinos too missed their extras as Jordan Lilley kicked wide. Leeds took confidence from the 4-4 half-time score but that was quickly drained.
NQCowboys World Champs
The Cowboys struck a minute into the restart through Kane Linnett, who took advantage of an Ash Handley spill from a high kick, while Kyle Feldt and Lachlan Coote added two more by 62 minutes. Thurston then got on the trysheet himself from close range and duly added the extras, before Justin O’Neill added to the tries towards a 32-4 lead.

Leeds’ misery was compounded when Mitch Garbutt was red carded for striking James Tamou, who was sin-binned for a strike on Keith Galloway. O’Neill then scored his second try as the Cowboys signed off on 38-4.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott said after the game: “We had a huge dig in that first half. Queensland attacked a bit more fuller than we did. It was such a big shift we did in that first half. “We needed something to go our way in the first 10, 15 minutes of the second half. It’s a scoreline which hurts. To concede that many points, that’s tough that. “North Queensland carried the ball, the physicality of their midfield, not only did they have some bounce of ball in first half, but we weren’t good either. “I don’t think they un-picked us. Don’t think they played stuff we couldn’t defend. But the pressure they applied, the difference is the pressure the players put on us.”

North Queensland Cowboys head coach Paul Green said: “It’s a great reward for the boys. I said to them before you got to work really hard to get this opportunity so don’t waste it.

I’m really proud of the way the boys played. “We got off to a good start. Once we got in control we didn’t let them back in to the game. Full credit to Leeds they came out and got stuck into us at the start. “We knew they’d start with physicality and get the ball round. But I was happy the way we controlled the second half.” –