AAP Rugby

Blunder gifts Cowboys NRL win over Eels

By AAP Newswire

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has labelled his side "dumb" after their woes were compounded by a 17-10 loss to North Queensland on Saturday.

A Blake Ferguson blunder allowed the Cowboys to snatch the come-from-behind win, however the Eels winger was hardly to blame after George Jennings fired an ill-advised pass to him on his tryline.

Jennings, playing his first game of the year and getting his call up after Maika Sivo was suspended, would have loved his time over as he attempted to spread it to Ferguson on a kick return, only for the Eels star winger to spill it.

From the next play-the-ball, Cowboys centre Tom Opacic ploughed over to break a 10-10 deadlock with five minutes remaining; a Jordan Kahu field goal then sealed a valuable two points for the spluttering Townsville side.

Arthur didn't mince his words when asked where his side lost it, saying they lacked composure and blew what few attacking opportunities they had in the second-half.

" I was proud of our effort but we had a chance to win that game," he said.

"We let ourselves down at the back end with some moments we didn't get right. Some dumb moments really."

The Eels were much improved following their 62-10 thumping to Melbourne last week, but now look set to fall out of the top eight this weekend.

The numbers said it all - the Cowboys enjoyed 62 per cent of possession, had 34 tackles in their opposition's red zone compared to the Eels' 10, won the penalty count 9-5 and missed half as many tackles (16-32).

Scores were locked at 6-6 at halftime but the Cowboys should have been well ahead.

Matt Scott, Jason Taumalolo and Kyle Feldt were all denied by the bunker due to obstruction calls but Paul Green's side still did enough to win.

The Eels took the lead for the first time two minutes into the second-half when Cowboys playmaker Michael Morgan fired a pass to Josh Hoffman who ran 95 metres to give the visitors a 10-6 lead at the break.

For most of the game the Cowboys' attack looked disjointed and Morgan was often guilty of taking the wrong option with his side on the attack.

The home side finally put it all together when slick passing culminated in Kyle Feldt marking his 100th first-grade game with a try to level the scores before they finished strong to lift their record to 4-6.

The victory was tempered by a potentially serious biceps injury to winger Ben Hampton in third minute.

North Queensland had plenty of heroes including Scott, who crossed for a rare try as well as making 118 metres and 19 tackles, while Taumalolo put in an 80 minute effort which included 216 run metres and 35 tackles.

"There was plenty of character in that win," Green said.

"It takes a lot of energy to get yourself back into the game (after the Hoffman try) and then finish it off."