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Warriors halfback Te Maire Martin steered the New Zealand team to within sight of the top eight with a five-star performance as they triumphed 42-12 against the Cowboys at QCB Stadium.

Fresh after a Round 13 bye and with most of their big-name stars back from injury, the Warriors piled on seven tries and Martin threw the final pass for five of them, while laying on another for Rocco Berry with a kick.

Berry and star fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scored two tries apiece, with the latter's second try being one of the best of the season (see Play of the Game), but the star was undoubtedly Martin.

After a mid-season slump, the Warriors have now won their last three matches with Martin wearing the No.7 jersey in the absence of veteran halfback Shaun Johnson, who is expected to return in next weekend's sold out Storm clash.

Nicoll-Klokstad, Berry, hooker Wayde Egan, prop Addin Fonua-Blake and back-rowers Kurt Capewell and Tohu Harris made their comebacks against the Cowboys and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is also closing in on a return.

The Warriors had a try to winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak disallowed due to obstruction in the opening minutes, but the visitors were soon on the scoreboard after a piece of individual brilliance by Nicoll-Klokstad.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad Try

Prop Addin Fonua-Blake, who missed the previous game against the Dolphins in Round 12 due to disciplinary reasons, proved his commitment when he took on four defenders close to the line and carried them over to score.

When Dylan Walker combined with Martin to put second-rower Mitch Barnett over the Warriors' third try, they had scored 16 points in the opening 18 minutes in a near perfect start to the match.

Mitchell Barnett Try

Martin produced his fourth try assist when centre Rocco Berry juggled a bullet pass before regathering to cross in the 33rd minute and extend the Warriors lead to 22-0.

Fullback Scott Drinkwater finally got the Cowboys on the board just before halftime after backing up a long-range dummy half break by star five-eighth Tom Dearden.

Scott Drinkwater Try

Such was the first half dominance of the Warriors that prop Jackson Ford had ran 118 metres with the ball by the interval, while the Cowboys had made 60 more tackles than their opponents.

Ford finished the match with 173 metres while Fonua-Blake carried the ball 198m from 19 runs and Nicoll-Klokstad ran 251m at fullback.

The Warriors continued their domination in the second half, with Watene-Zelezniak scoring after picked up an overhead pass from Martin that hit the ground and strolling across the tryline in the 53rd minute.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak Try

Warriors centre Adam Pompey kicked his fifth goal of the match after Cowboys halfback Chad Townsend was penalised for tackling Kurt Capewell before he received the ball. 

Townsend and Warriors five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tavita were sensationally sin-binned over a flare up in the previous set after Pompey and Marcelo Montoya had dragged Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt into touch.

Townsend and Harris-Tavita clash

Nicoll-Klokstad sealed the win when he kicked into the in-goal and capitalised on a piece of magic by Watene-Zelezniak, who managed to tap the ball into the in-goal before it went dead.

But the Warriors weren't done yet and Martin put a full stop on the win with a deft grubber into the in-goal for Berry to grab his second try in the 78th minute.    

Match snapshot

  • The Warriors welcomed back fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (illness), hooker Wayde Egan (head knock), centre Rocco Berry (hand), prop Addin Fonua-Blake (stood down) and back-rowers Kurt Capewell (calf) and Tohu Harris (wrist)
  • Four of North Queensland's six Origin stars -Valentine Holmes, Tom Dearden and Jeremiah Nanai backed up from Wednesday night's match. 
  • Cowboys hooker Harrison Edwards was placed on report for a crusher tackle on Warriors captain Tohu Harris.
  • Nicol-Klokstad ran a game high 251m, while props Addin Fonua-Blake (198) and Jackson Ford (173) were huge on the ball too. 
  • Jason Taumalolo led the way for the Cowboys with 157m in a 53-minute stint off the bench. 
  • The Warriors have won six of their past eight games against the Cowboys.

Play of the game

Warriors wing star Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is renowned for his brilliant airborne finishes to score tries but this time he used his acrobatic skills to lay one on for Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad after batting a kick from the fullback into in-goal before it went dead.    

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad Try

What they said

"I just thought our energy was down to be fair, we started poorly. We gave the opposition too many opportunities in our own end. I think it was 40-odd plays inside our 20 [that we gave the Warriors] and we made 80 or 90 more tackles across the game." – Cowboys coach Todd Payten. 

Cowboys: Round 14

"We came here with plenty of confidence. We knew if we did what we wanted to do we would get what we wanted; the boys were great. I thought the boys were really disciplined and smart, I just loved our ruthless we were early." – Warriors coach Andrew Webster. 

Warriors: Round 14

What's next 

The Cowboys travel to Canberra next Friday night before a Round 16 bye, following by matches against the Panthers (away) and Sea Eagles (home) before another bye in Round 19.

North Queensland coach Todd Payten will be hoping to have Maroons winger Murray Taulagi (shoulder) and Blues hooker Reece Robson (neck) available for the Raiders clash, along with prop Jordan McLean (calf).

The Warriors host the Storm next Saturday night before a trip to the Gold Coast followed by matches against the Broncos and Bulldogs and another bye in Round 19.

Star halfback Shaun Johnson is expected to return from a pectoral muscle injury against Melbourne, possibly along with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (hamstring). 

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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