The Cowboys finally gave their devoted fans something to smile about this season when they claimed a tight win over the Newcastle Knights at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night in the second golden point extra time match of the round.
Still well out of the race to the finals in the 14th spot on the ladder, the win was still an important one for North Queensland who had previously lost their past four games in a row.
The out-of-form Knights are now in the 12th position, also looking unlikely of making the September playoffs having now lost their last two from two.
Punters that bet on no field goal to be kicked through Ladbrokes.com.au would have been relieved after an extra time try and not a drop goal was the winning play
It was a gutsy game from both sides in a match decided by an extra time four-pointer scored by William Tupou, playing in just his 10th NRL match.
The Knights kicked off the scoring in the 11th minute when Ben Rogers got the first try of the night. Captain Kurt Gidley converted the try and the visitors were in front by six.
The Cowboys fought back with their first four-pointer just three minutes later when Luke O’Donnell opened their account. Johnathan Thurston also slotted the ball through the posts to tie the score six all.
North Queensland backed up with their second in the 24th minute when Anthony Watts got over and another successful conversion by JT pushed the Cowboys in front 12 – 6.
Before half time was over Newcastle’s talented Akuila Uate got another converted try to again lock the two at 12 all.
Then, in the final minute of the first half the Cowboys were given the advantage when they were awarded a penalty that Thurston kicked to give them the two point lead at half time.
Back from the break the arm wrestle continued when the Knights were then given a penalty in the 46th minute, with Gidley going for the two points that tied the score once more 14 – 14.
In a thrilling second half showdown both teams scored two more tries each so the match moved into extra time.
The Cowboys got two in a row with rep star Willie Tonga and soon to depart Luke O’Donnell getting one each in the 59th and 66th minutes, making it a match double for O’Donnell. Thurston kicked one from two and North Queensland looked good for the win leading 24 – 14 with 15 to go.
It was another close match that paid out to punters betting on the Cowboys to win by 1 – 7 points through Ladbrokes.com.au
But then a late charge by the Knights had them repeat the Cowboys’ feats with Uate completing his double in the 73rd minute, Gidley missing the kick, and then with a minute to go centre Cooper Vuna scored their fourth to make it 24 – 22.
On the full time siren Gidley booted a thrilling kick from the sideline that hit the posts before rebounding through, making it 24 all, the ref calling for golden point extra time.
It took just two minutes for the Cowboys to steal victory when winger William Tupou scored one final try, his fancy footwork getting him over in the corner.
There were a number of casualties in the physically tough game, with Knights hooker Isaac De Gois colliding in a sickening head clash with North Queensland’s Matt Scott.
Then there was the suspected neck injury to the Cowboys young Dane Hogan, who was later cleared.
With another eight top showdowns ready to play out in Round 21 this week, there has never been a better time to stop betting at the TAB and sign up at Ladbrokes.com.au. New Ladbrokes.com.au customers will receive a special free bet bonus to use on anything from the footy to the horse races!