The Real Deal Cowboys underlined the prospect of a Premiership by winning Storm

The Cowboys have underlined their Premiership credentials with a devastating 36-6 win over Melbourne Storm and have declared themselves a real threat to the title.

This is the sixth win in a row for North Queensland and the fifth win on the spin where they have scored 30 or more points.

Statistics will tell you that they are the real deal now, and the way they sent back one of the competition’s heavyweights is back.

The second half was symbolic: the storm completed half of their set and ravaged North Queensland.

Losing Jason Toumalolo just for the injury will mark a potentially huge night in the Cowboys season.

Storm again missed Jahrom Hughes in the middle and Ryan Papenhuen in the back, prompting another backline shuffle.

Nick Menny was placed at fullback, Dean Eremia at wing and Harry Grant at halfback, but no movement was able to cover the team’s bright holes.

It’s hard to remember that at the time Melbourne scored 30+ in two consecutive weeks, much less when they tried just two in the North, but without their two bright stars the drop-off was huge.

The start was good for North Queensland. Tom Gilbert, who got his first try of the season after losing to the Bulldogs, got on the hosts board through an attempt that was somewhat lucky.

It came in a bit of a reversal of the game run, as Melbourne dominated the early ball, but when the Cowboys forced a drop out, Storm took it short and threw it straight into Gilbert’s hands. It still has some scores, but Gilbert was able to run it.

The next one is later. Scott Drinkwater, playing like a man on a mission against his former club, went too close and refused, but Rees Robson capitalized on the next play.

The storm dropped from several stars but hit back. Twi Kamikamika made the first attempt after his long pruning, making a characteristic line on the Harry Grant crash ball. It would be as good as found overnight.

The 12-6 scoreline at the break was a reflection of a tough game where North Queensland completed 68% and surrendered the field position, but looked dangerous whenever they got the ball on the field.

Near the second half but there was something. From the moment Murray Toulagi crossed the corner in spectacular fashion – stuttering-holding to hold Brandon Smith before diving, all the time with one hand ball – there was no looking back.

Jeremiah Nanai, one of the breakout stars of the Breakout Cowboys team, found himself in the ninth season of the season – not for a kick, but for a change – before Scott Drinkwater had a sweet moment, walking through a crowded storm backline to score. Nanai got his traditional attempt from a kick to stop scoring with a 25-minute game.

At that moment, things seemed to go awry. There was still no time to show their determination in Melbourne. Toulagi thought he had scored, only to intervene for a miraculous tackle from Xavier Coates, while a gang tackle in the corner also stopped Valentine Holmes.

The spirit was still there: but it was too late to come.

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