Cowboys back in business, Smith hits out after Storm win


Javid Bowen scored a try on his NRL debut as North Queensland Cowboys took the frustration of their derby defeat to Brisbane Broncos out on St George Illawarra Dragons with a 36-0 thrashing at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday.

The champions had been licking their wounds since suffering a dramatic golden-point defeat to the Broncos and responded in emphatic fashion eight days later, running in four second-half tries and six in total.

Paul Green's side had to wait 25 minutes to get their noses in front, with Gavin Cooper going over for the opening try before Kyle Feldt pounced on a grubber kick from captain Johnathan Thurston to touch down.

Thurston converted both first-half scores and added the extras once again after Scott Bolton barged his way over, with debutant Bowen getting in on the act after a brilliant offload from Lachlan Coote - who has been linked with a move to the Dragons.

Feldt helped himself to a double and Justin O'Neill added a sixth try in a one-sided second half, with the clinical Thurston successful with all six conversions as the Cowboys moved up to third in front of a season-best crowd of 17,444.

Cameron Smith expressed his fury at the "ridiculous" NRL schedule after Melbourne Storm responded to their first defeat of the season by seeing off Newcastle Knights 18-14 at AAMI Park.

The Storm suffered their first defeat of the season against Cronulla Sharks on Monday and were back in action again five days later, coming from 14-6 down to secure victory courtesy of two Cooper Cronk tries and a score from Richie Kennar seven minutes from time.

But Storm captain Smith felt the need to speak out after a victory that put his side second in the ladder and kept the Knights still waiting for a first win.

He said: "It's tough. We've been saying it for a long time now, and it's taken a couple of Sydney teams to get a rough trot for people to stand up and take notice.

"Last year we finished with two five-day turnarounds in a row leading into a finals series, that's just ridiculous."

A James Tedesco double proved to be in vain as Cronulla Sharks beat West Tigers 34-26 to claim their first win at Campbelltown Stadium for 14 years, thanks in no small part to 18 points from James Maloney.