The Roosters have prepared for their first finals campaign since 2008 with a scratchy 18-8 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
The Roosters needed to win by at least fifteen points to jump over the New Zealand Warriors on the ladder, but will instead finish sixth, pinning them against the Wests Tigers. The Cowboys ended their season with plenty of spirit, particularly from fullback Matt Bowen who played extremely well in his 200th game.
The Cowboys started the game being given seven penalties in the first quarter-hour, taking the lead through Bowen. The Roosters hit back after half an hour, with Shaun Kenny-Dowall finding space thanks to Mitchell Aubusson. Kenny-Dowall scored his second early in the second half to give the Roosters a shot of their goal.
The Cowboys hit back through Ty Williams, playing his last game, but the Roosters finished strongly, with Nate Myles hitting the line and giving Mitchell Pearce a try.
The Cowboys farewelled a handful of players, including Ty Williams, Clint Amos, Carl Webb and Anthony Watts, who played extremely well against his future side in the Roosters.
North Queensland Cowboys 8 were defeated by Sydney Roosters 18
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 26 - Saturday September 4, 2010 7:30pm
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Referee: Steve Lyons and Brett Suttor
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Luke Potter and David Munro
Halftime: North Queensland Cowboys 4 Sydney Roosters 6
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Matt Bowen (1 Try)
2 Points - Shaun Kenny-Dowall (2 Tries)
1 Point - Anthony Watts
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to Dairy Farmers Stadium, where the North Queensland Cowboys will finish off their horror 2010 season against the high flying Sydney Roosters.
Farewells : Well of course, being the last round, the Cowboys will be saying goodbye to a few players. Ty Williams will be playing his last game while it is expected Willie Mason could be lining up for his last game in the NRL. Anthony Watts will play his last game in Cowboys colours against his future club.
In Toyota Cup news, both sides went to battle knowing they will be participating in the finals series. However a Michael Morgan field goal was the difference, giving the Cowboys a 29-28 victory over the Roosters.
Late Changes: Carl Webb (another one leaving Townsville) will leave the bench to swap places with Willie Mason and start the game at prop.
Late Changes: Anthony Minichiello ruled out, Sam Perrett moves to fullback while Kane Linnett returns from injury on the wing. Jake Friend is also out, with Nick Kouparitsas starting at hooker. Frank Paul Nuuausala moves to the bench with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves starting instead. Lopini Paea keeps his place on the bench.
An insane start to the game, errors and penalties galore!
10 min: TRY
Matt Bowen Try, Cowboys 4 lead Roosters 0
Carl Webb goes straight through, exciting Cowboys and Eels fans. The Cowboys continued the run with Matt Bowen showing some glimpses of old with a beautiful solo effort. The conversion effort isn't bad from John Williams, but it goes wide.
North Queensland Cowboys 4-0
14 min: The defensive discipline of the Roosters is worrying. Another offside, and a backchat one to go along with it. Braith Anasta getting called up after Nick Kouparitsas gave the ref a gobful. Already four penalties against them.
16 min: The Roosters defence starting to look a little better. The Cowboys actually got through a set.
18 min: Matt Bowen having a beautiful night, creating plays everywhere.
19 min: Another penalty against the Roosters.
22 min: The Roosters finally break through but Leilua drops it. At least a promising sign.
23 min: Clint Amos off injured, future Rooster Anthony Watts on.
23 min: Bowen in fine form, kicking to trap the Roosters. Here they come again!
24 min: Looks like there was a forward pass there, lucky Roosters.
25 min: Now Anasta with a forward pass.
27 min: A load of horrid passes, now somehow an offside penalty against the Roosters.
27 min: And another one! The count is incredible, and I'm not talking about Minichiello! The referees are actually asking for the count, with it being 7-1 against the Roosters.
28 min: And a Cowboys error saves them.
29 min: TRY
Shaun Kenny-Dowall Try, Todd Carney Goal, Roosters 6 lead Cowboys 4 Somehow the Roosters have put themselves right in this, despite possession and penalties going well against them. Mitchell Aubusson finds a great ball to tryscorer Shaun Kenny-Dowall. Todd Carney has no trouble and the Roosters, can you believe it, are in front.
Sydney Roosters 6-4
31 min: Roosters looks like they've found something here.
33 min: Shaun Kenny-Dowall knocks on close to the line, but a penalty is called against the Cowboys for offside. The Roosters with another chance.
34 min: Mitchell Pearce may have dropped the ball over the line, video referee to decide.
36 min: He has indeed lost it.
37 min: Kenny-Dowall away but Carl Webb puts him into touch.
39 min: Cowboys not far from the line, with a chance before the break.
40 min: That's the break. What a half. Don't know how to describe it really, but the Roosters are somehow in front.
40 min: Second half underway!
42 min: Watts presenting his future side with a gift, giving the Roosters massive position with a shocking pass.
43 min: TRY
Shaun Kenny-Dowall Try, Todd Carney Goal, Roosters 12 lead Cowboys 4 Another set of passing out wide finds Kenny-Dowall once more, getting his second try of the night, getting closer to the top of that list. Todd Carney once again has no trouble with the kick. Remember, the Roosters need to win by at least fifteen to over-take the Warriors into fifth position.
Sydney Roosters 12-4
46 min: Anthony Watts still putting in, the Cowboys with half a chance.
48 min: The Cowboys doing everything and anything with all the pressure in the world, the Roosters are forced to concede the drop-out.
50 min: Matt Bowen looks like he'll go close with every touch. What a game for his 200th!
50 min: Ty Williams might have scored on his farewell! Video referee!
53 min: A bad call against the Cowboys for a drop.
56 min: Cowboys get a relieving penalty after Kenny-Dowall finds more space.
62 min: TRY
Ty Williams Try, Roosters 12 lead Cowboys 8 The Cowboys get a try in the end, with many thanks to future Rooster Anthony Watts. It looks like the Roosters have missed their chance to gain fifth spot. Williams has missed the kick once again.
Sydney Roosters 12-8
67 min: The Cowboys playing some exciting football, the run comes to an end with a James Tamou error.
70 min: TRY
Mitchell Pearce Try, Todd Carney Goal, Roosters 18 lead Cowboys 8 Nate Myles runs forty metres to link up with Mitchell Pearce to score. Roosters still with a chance of moving up the ladder.
Sydney Roosters 18-8
73 min: The outside may once again hurt the Roosters as John Williams looks to have scored.
74 min: No try, he's out of the line. So the Roosters can still do it.
75 min: Maybe not. Cowboys still on the attack.
79 min: Roosters with a late penalty on the halfway. One last chance to get that converted try.
80 min: It wont happen and the Roosters get away with an 18-8 win over the Cowboys.