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Morgan stars as Cowboys beat Titans in NRL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/06/2017 Rohan O'Neil

Maroons utility Michael Morgan helped put the disappointment of a State of Origin opening loss behind him by guiding North Queensland to a much-needed 20-8 home NRL win on Saturday night over Gold Coast.

With Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston still sidelined, Townsville junior Morgan played arguably his best game of the season, the halfback bagging a try and impressing with his kicking game all night.

Opposing Origin star Jarryd Hayne had a largely forgettable night, the Blues' centre barely noticeable in a Titans side needing some attacking spark.

Outside of a 10-minute period up to halftime, the Titans struggled and were outscored 14-0 in the final term to slip to another listless loss.

North Queensland looked promising in attack and enjoyed 65 per cent of possession in the opening 20 minutes but couldn't finish a number of half chances against resolute Gold Coast defence.

After a mountain of pressure and possession, the Cowboys were finally rewarded when Morgan powered over for a signature running try.

Winger Kyle Feldt missed an easy conversion attempt but, soon after, a penalty goal took North Queensland to 6-0 nearing halftime.

The Titans were then quick to pounce on a Cowboys error, as Dale Copley combined with Ash Taylor to send the Titans' halfback over for an impressive 50-metre try.

While a stellar Lachlan Coote tackle stopped a certain Gold Coast try, a ruck penalty allowed Taylor to boot the Titans to an unlikely 8-6 halftime lead.

North Queensland started the second period with great attacking intent and were soon rewarded when standout rookie Coen Hess stormed over for his ninth try of the year to recapture the lead for the Cowboys.

Feldt added another penalty goal to extend the Cowboys' lead to six and he added four more points shortly after with a smart finish from an inch-perfect Morgan cut-out pass.

The Cowboys went out further to 20-8 lead after the Titans gifted Feldt a penalty shot from in front when they failed to get a line dropout away in time.

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