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Zac Lomax’s BLUNDER gifts Murray Taulagi try as North Queensland hammer hapless St George

Zac Lomax’s BLUNDER gifts Murray Taulagi tries as North Queensland hammers hapless St George to consolidate top four

  • North Queensland defeated St George Illawarra 31-12 on Friday night
  • Zac Lomax’s mistake gave Murray Taulagi a chance shortly after the break
  • Cowboys improved their record to 10-4 and remained third on the NRL ladder
  • The Dragons dropped to 6-7 for the season and failed to climb into the top eight

St George Illawarra were their own worst enemy as they suffered a 31-12 defeat to North Queensland on Friday night, with Zac Lomax going through a nightmare moment.

The Dragons trailed 20-6 at halftime and their night deteriorated shortly after the break, when Lomax attempted a bold, non-lightning pass from the back of his hand despite being 15 yards from his own try-line .

The attempt failed disastrously, with the ball missing its intended target, Dragons winger Tautau Moga, and bouncing onto the grass before being picked up by Murray Taulagi.

Murray Taulagi scored the Cowboys' fourth try in a dominant win against St George

Murray Taulagi scored the Cowboys’ fourth try in a dominant win against St George

The Cowboys young gun could hardly believe his luck, as he picked up de Steeden before scoring one of the easiest tries of his career.

New South Wales coach Brad Fittler denounced Lomax’s decision-making.

“It’s a dangerous place to look for a pass,” the Blues coach said in commentary to Nine.

“He came out of his center and looked for the wonder ball.”

Zac Lomax (No. 4) attempted a bold, no-look flick pass 15 yards from his own try line

Zac Lomax (No. 4) attempted a bold, no-look flick pass 15 yards from his own try line

The gamble didn't pay off as the ball never reached its intended target, Dragons winger Tautau Moga (left) and allowed Taulagi (right) to strike

The gamble didn’t pay off as the ball never reached its intended target, Dragons winger Tautau Moga (left) and allowed Taulagi (right) to strike

Taulagi’s effort nearly sealed the game for North Queensland as they took their 10th win of the season and secured themselves in the top four of the competition.

The hosts produced absolutely dazzling football at times, tearing through the Dragons’ defenses at will, with Scott Drinkwater, Peta Hiku and Reece Robson all crossed in the first 30 minutes, before Moses Suli finally put St George on the board just before half time.

The Cowboys have a knack for ramping up their defensive intensity in the second half, holding their opposition to just that one try in the second stanza.

Their 46 points awarded in the second half to 14 rounds this season is the NRL’s best.

North Queensland defeated St George 31-12 on Friday night in Townsville

North Queensland defeated St George 31-12 on Friday night in Townsville

The dragons repeatedly shot themselves in the foot as they dropped to 6-7 for the season

The dragons repeatedly shot themselves in the foot as they dropped to 6-7 for the season

The home side had a good grip on the game after adding three tries to one in the first stanza.

It was the visitors who enjoyed most of the area in the second half, but only took advantage of it late with a try on Jaydn Su’a in the 74th minute.

Their play-the-balls deep into the final third were halted with punishing defense by the Cowboys.

North Queensland hooker Robson paved the way with 43 tackles, none better than former teammate Francis Molo on his tryline to force a late error.

Scott Drinkwater put the Cowboys ahead with the game barely five minutes old

Scott Drinkwater put the Cowboys ahead with the game barely five minutes old

Before Peta Hiku scored North Queensland's second try five minutes later

Before Peta Hiku scored North Queensland’s second try five minutes later

Co-skipper Jason Taumalolo was back on his best team through the middle, leading all players with 191 meters on 18 passes, while Jordan McLean dealt damage through the middle to finish with 124.

Cowboys coach Todd Payten said he was looking for ball control on his part, but they coughed it up in their first two sets before the Dragons gave them field position with back-to-back restarts.

Taking advantage of the deep territory, Tom Dearden pushed Coen Hess through a hole before plunging into a heaving Drinking Water to dive over it.

The Cowboys were then on the offensive again when Dearden forced a lunge on the goal line, with Drinkwater turning the provider on the resulting set and grabbing into in-goal for Hiku to take their second.

The Dragons enjoyed most of the area in the second half, but failed to capitalize

The Dragons enjoyed most of the area in the second half, but failed to capitalize

Ben Hunt was colorless after playing for Queensland on Wednesday night in Origin 1

Ben Hunt was colorless after playing for Queensland on Wednesday night in Origin 1

A penalty goal from Valentine Holmes made it 14-0 in the 22nd minute before the Dragons got their first real crack on the line, but Cody Ramsey’s effort was destroyed due to obstruction.

Moments later, the home side had their third goal after an agile pass from Taumalolo in midfield pushed Griffin Neame through a gap, who in turn found a supportive Robson to score against his former club.

Suli’s attempt before halftime gave the Dragons some hope, but the Cowboys held them off to secure the win.

In a blemish for the Cowboys, they lost young backrower Heilum Luki to a suspected ACL injury in the first half.

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