Maroons star Holmes on report as Cowboys beat Tigers

Joel Gould |

Cowboys and Maroons star Valentine Holmes is on report after being sin-binned for a hip-drop tackle.
Cowboys and Maroons star Valentine Holmes is on report after being sin-binned for a hip-drop tackle.

North Queensland centre Valentine Holmes and Queensland face a nervous wait after the Maroons stalwart was put on report for a hip-drop tackle in the 42-28 win over Wests Tigers.

A Queensland regular expected to be named on Monday in the side to play NSW in the State of Origin opener in Sydney, Holmes was sin-binned in the 37th minute in Townsville for his tackle on Tigers second-rower Isaiah Papali’i, who limped from the field with an ankle injury.

Holmes was accidentally landed on by Cowboys co-captain Tom Dearden while making the tackle, which may play in his favour.

“It wasn’t a hip-drop. I am absolutely gobsmacked by the interference of the bunker in that situation,” a fuming Cowboys coach Todd Payten said.

“I don’t know what a rugby league player is supposed to do in that situation when they are going for a try and he lands on their legs … but it is not a hip-drop.”

Payten said a tackle by Tigers prop David Klemmer on Cowboys forward Kulikfefu Finefuiaki was a “textbook” hip-drop. The veteran was put on report but not sin-binned.

Tigers coach Benji Marshall said Papali’i was in a bad way.

“He’s not good. He’s in a moon boot and on crutches,” Marshall said.

“He will have scans and it is really unfortunate.”

Cowboys players celebrate a try.
Sam McIntyre got on the scoresheet as the Cowboys ran in seven tries to the Tigers’ five. (Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS)

In an engrossing contest, Queensland incumbents Holmes, Jeremiah Nanai, Reuben Cotter and Murray Taulagi all had strong games.

Nanai, in the back-row, was at his brilliant best with two tries in a man-of-the-match display.

Holmes scored two tries and landed six goals in a 20-point haul.

Cowboys co-captain and No.6 Dearden, hoping for a recall to replace the injured Cameron Munster in the Maroons team, was solid and influential.

Opposite hookers and NSW hopefuls Api Koroisau and Reece Robson had a ding-doing battle. Koroisau was more dangerous with the ball for the Tigers but Robson’s defence was superior.

Cowboys 270-game legend Matt Bowen led the side onto the field for the Indigenous Round clash and his former club initially played with the verve for which he was famous.

Isaiah Papali'i.
Isaiah Papali’i was on crutches after the game, with scans set to reveal the extent of the damage. (Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS)

Winger Kyle Feldt scored inside five minutes after a charge by Nanai.

The powerhouse Maroons forward leapt high to score his ninth try of the season after a Chad Townsend bomb. Feldt scored his second and it was 20-0 after 14 minutes. 

North Queensland lapsed back into old ways with ill-disciplined errors and penalties, and Tigers winger Solomon Alaimalo scored after a neat pass from 18-year-old No.6  Lachlan Galvin.

When Tigers fullback Jahream Bula leapt above opposite number Scott Drinkwater, the margin was just 10 points.

And when the visitors’ second-rower Samuela Fainu scored from a neat kick by Galvin after the break, it was game on.

Galvin, who played superbly, saved a try to deny Feldt with a last-ditch play, but the Cowboys responded with tries to Sam McIntyre and Holmes to regain the ascendancy.

Nanai iced the win late to consign the Tigers to an eighth consecutive loss before the visitors responded with two late tries to Stefano Utoikamanu and Alex Twal to send reminders of their own fighting spirit and the Cowboys’ defensive frailties.

AAP