BUNDY BOYS STAR: Hess and Laybutt help Cowboys win
LEAGUE: No JT, no worries for the North Queensland Cowboys.
Well, almost, as the side recorded a dramatic 14-12 win over the Penrith Panthers in Townsville on Saturday afternoon.
The Cowboys, in the absence of Johnathan Thurston, who is out for the rest of the year, scored a late try to the leaping Kyle Feldt to win for the ninth time this year.
"Great effort, great character-building win for us,” Cowboys coach Paul Green said.
"There was a couple of big plays there to get the game.”
Helping the side win were Bundaberg players Kyle Laybutt and Coen Hess.
Laybutt replaced Thurston in the final 17 for his second game, with Hess taking his spot on the bench after playing for Queensland on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old continued his damaging form in another great performance as he gained 231 metres from 25 runs and made 21 tackles.
"Hess was really good in the second half,” Cowboys captain Gavin Cooper said.
"He's a good kid, never gets too fazed, does what is asked of him and is willing to learn.”
While Hess impressed, Laybutt struggled as he showed glimpses of what he could do but at times was unable to put his imprint on the game.
"A couple of times there he just sort of drifted out of the game,” Green said.
"He's a pretty quiet sort of a bloke and for a halfback you need to impose yourself.
"He just needs to get involved when we need him to.”
Green also wouldn't confirm if Laybutt was his number one after recently signing fellow halfback Te Maire Martin.
"I'm not going to guarantee anyone's position for the rest of the year right now,” he said.
"They've got to play consistent, do their job and if they do that then they are a good chance of keeping their position.”
The Cowboys will play Canberra this week.