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Drinkwater and Taumalolo star as Cowboys put red line through Red V

St George Illawarra are all but out of finals contention after Scott Drinkwater inspired the Cowboys to a 34-8 win at Kogarah.

The result leaves the Dragons in 11th place on 20 points, equal with the Manly Sea Eagles and a win back on the Canberra Raiders and Sydney Roosters.

Anthony Griffin’s men, however, are effectively another win further behind thanks to a near 200-point differential deficit in comparison to the eighth-placed Roosters.

The Cowboys’ victory was led by Scott Drinkwater in the first half and Jason Taumalolo in the second.

The fullback kickstarted their afternoon with a stylish assist for Kyle Feldt and finished it with a late try of his own, courtesy of an equally impressive set up from Valentine Holmes.

Taumalolo topped the metre charts – plus ca change – but also showed how much his ball-playing has come on with a deft pass that put Griffin Neame in to blow out a lead that North Queensland never looked like relinquishing.

Drinkwater’s day out started in the 17th minute, when he isolated Jack Bird in the line, burned him with a step and flicked the ball out of a tackle to winger Feldt.

He then got one for himself as Jeremiah Nanai, not for last time, ran right over the top of Ben Hunt in his own half before dumping inside to Drinkwater to go the rest of the way to the line.

The Dragons did get on the board through a scruffy Jack de Belin score, and brought the scoreline closer with a Zac Lomax penalty goal.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 31: Scott Drinkwater of the Cowboys beats the defence to score a try during the round 20 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the North Queensland Cowboys at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, on July 31, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Scott Drinkwater. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

They might have even taken a lead to the break with Mathew Feagai denied at the corner by an excellent Peta Hiku dive that dislodged the ball with the winger looking to ground.

Though the score was tight, it never seemed in doubt. It took until the 55th minute for the Cowboys to extend the lead, with Neame busting through weak efforts from Andrew McCullough and Billy Burns on the back of Taumalolo’s pass.

The floodgates were open and it was no surprise that Nanai was the man running straight through them.

The Maroons back-rower exposed tired edge defence twice late to add gloss to the scoreline and break the Cowboys’ season try-scoring record for a forward in the process.

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