The Cowboys failed to give their home fans anything to smile about on Saturday night when they went down by one point to the Sharks at Dairy Farmers Stadium in a thrilling battle that went into overtime.
North Queensland are in big trouble this season in 15th spot on the ladder following a horror season that has included just four wins over the past 16 weeks. Hosting the Sharks at home, the Cowboys should have been able to secure victory and make up for their upsetting 12 – 58 loss to the Storm last week.
However it was Cronulla, in 13th spot, who came away with the two competition points after the match went into extra-time.
The home team were first to score when big Willie Mason got over 12 minutes into the match. It was Mason’s first try for the Cowboys and he set a trend as the following two tries for North Queensland were also the first scored for the respective players.
The first try was converted by skipper Johnathan Thurston and the Cowboys led 6 – nil after 15 minutes. It looked as though North Queensland would have this one in the bag when just seven minutes later they scored their second, this time a converted try by Matthew Scott.
Then seconds before the half-time whistle, Carl Webb crossed again for the Cowboys, JT making it three from three so North Queensland went to the break leading by 18 points over a still scoreless Sharks.
But a listless second-half performance by the Cowboys saw them give up their seemingly comfortable 18 point lead, letting a committed Cronulla in with four unanswered tries to give the visitors the win.
The Sharks scored two tries within the first eight minutes back from the break, with Ben Pomeroy and Isaac Gordon scoring one each in the 44th and 48th minutes. Nathan Gardner converted the first and the Sharks were now in the game trailing 18 – 10.
Just six minutes later they were at it again when Gardner scored a 54th minute four-pointer after a Matt Bowen intercept, making it a four point game.
Time ticked away as the two teams fought it out, but it was Cronulla who were next to score again when Paul Aiton got over with three defenders hanging on in the 71st minute. They missed the kick, so the scores were tied 18 all with less than 10 minutes left on the clock.
Desperate to finally get a home game victory and a club win, Thurston kicked what many thought would be the winning field goal in the 77th minute after the Sharks Trent Barrett had missed two off the boot. But as the full-time siren was ready to sound, John Morris forced the game into golden point extra time with a crafty 80th minute field goal and the two were at 19 all.
Pushing on in a tiring final showdown, Morris was then penalised for stripping the ball from Mason, but under the pressure Thurston missed the kick. Then, newly appointed Blues Origin captain Trent Barrett sunk the winning field goal for the Sharks after a testing seven minutes of extra time, securing Cronulla’s fifth win of the season.
This weekend the Cowboys will be relieved to get a break and two competition points with a bye, while the Sharks play on Saturday night against the Bulldogs. Check out the odds for all of Round 17’s scheduled showdowns at SportsBet today!