The final game of the magnificent Magic Round in Brisbane featured the blind attacking flair of the reborn Cowboys – and the main task was emerging winger Murray Toulagi.
The Auckland 23-year-old turned into an exceptional game when the Cowboys ran for their fifth consecutive win in a 36-12 win over the West Tigers, finishing third in the straight line in the process.
In an extra push from the wrecked Tigers, five-eighth Luke Brooks took no part in the second half and was seen icing his right hamstring on the bench. The 27-year-old will be scanned on Monday.
Toulagi provided the highlight of the match when he threw one of the game’s biggest passes, scoring a shot in the air in the eighth minute over the left touchline to set Scott Dringwater tri.
West Tigers halfback Jackson Hastings struggled desperately with Toulagi, but that didn’t stop the red-hot genius from landing the ball at Drinkswater’s Mits.
Rugby League great Michael Ennis described the Fox League coverage pass as “unreasonable” and “absolutely unbelievable”, while caller Andrew Voss called it “offensive”.
Toulagi achieved his own effort in the 18th minute when he caped a flashy chain of passes from the left wing, before collecting a second four-pointer when he chased a Chad Townsend Gruber and hit the ball in the 49th minute.
Shortly before his second attempt, he appeared to create a great finish, diving down the dot down the left touchline, but a bunker review shows that a boot kissed in white.
As a great sign for the Cowboys to rebuild, co-stars Jeremiah Nanai, Ruben Cutter and Tom Deirden were also among the most effective players in the match.
More to come.