Cowboys come back to conquer Cronulla in extra time

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

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    The North Queensland Cowboys, despite not leading until the 85th minute, have won an extra time classic over the Cronulla Sharks after a Michael Morgan field goal.

    The Cowboys had no right to win the game, but they hung on, defended like their lives depended on it and came back time and time again.

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    Down eight points in the final 20 minutes, it was a Jason Taumalolo effort which saw them get back into the contest. Running over four defenders from five metres out, the decision went to the bunker with the ruling coming back a try.

    With Ethan Lowe slotting the goal, then kicking a penalty goal in the final five minutes, the Cowboys got the game to extra time.

    Despite being on the back foot, the Cowboys got up the field and Michael Morgan slotted the match-winning field goal.

    The Sharks had an opportunity at the back-end of extra time to slot a field goal, but with Andrew Fifita running across the ground and offloading, that would be the end of their chances, the 2016 premiers being eliminated.

    There was plenty of controversy to speak of earlier in the contest though. The penalty which tied the game up was arguable at best, while calls went both ways throughout the contest.

    It was an uninspiring first half, with the Sharks scoring the first try in the third minute through Chad Townsend. He came up with some luck after a kick to Winterstein, the chase forcing him back to the in goal and the ball coming lose. Winterstein appeared to ground it, but the bunker saw it differently.

    The Sharks were generally sloppy throughout the first half, making a lot of errors, despite going up 8-0.

    With the Cowboys on the attack at the end of the first half, Morgan put a grubber into the in goal area. James Maloney came out of the line and hit Lowe off the ball, with the Cronulla half sent to the sin-bin.

    The Cowboys went into the break with a penalty goal to their name and a six-point deficit, before Kyle Feldt stood up Gerard Beale on the wing at the end of James Maloney’s time in the bin. The conversion missed, leaving the Cowboys behind by two.

    Jack Bird then scored a try for the Sharks 24 minutes from full time, with the hosts going up by eight points once more.

    Following the Taumalolo try and a penalty goal, the Sharks had another opportunity to ice the game in regulation. Turning down a field goal though Paul Gallen took on the line but knocked on reaching out to score, with the rest history.

    The Cowboys will now have a six-day turnaround before facing the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium next week after the blue and gold lost their qualifying final in Melbourne on Saturday.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (164)

    • September 10th 2017 @ 6:24pm
      Duncan Smith said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

      Thanks Fifita for running the ball out towards the wing then dropping it, instead of staying near the posts for a field goal!

      • September 10th 2017 @ 6:42pm
        Tom of Brisbane said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

        Almost poetic, that the two biggest tools for Cronulla cost them the game at the end. Not only Fifita at the end of extra time, but also Gallen going for glory at the end of normal time and losing the ball when all they had to do was kick the field goal

        • September 10th 2017 @ 8:07pm
          Psychodelia said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:07pm | ! Report

          Tom of Brisbane hahaha well put!

        • September 10th 2017 @ 9:06pm
          Nico said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

          Good to see Flanno in at the press conference with his ‘we waz robbed’ list of ref gripes at the ready. Is he trying to give Gal/Fifi some competition for who is the biggest tool in Cronulla?

        • September 10th 2017 @ 9:09pm
          Nambawan said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:09pm | ! Report

          I dont follow Cronulla but I dont agree that Gallen is a “tool”. He always gives 110 percent, is a real warrior and also now plays with quite a lot of skill. He deserves a lot of admiration in my view.

    • September 10th 2017 @ 6:25pm
      Benji said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

      RL rules are a schermozzle. In the last 5 minutes of normal time, Fifita knocks the ball backwards and its a knock on, Ethan Lowe? loses the ball and its a penalty when x per cent of the time its a scrum for the non-offender and then Gallen nearly makes it over the line but he loses the ball with a guy with a hand on the ball (which some weeks is a penalty) and its play on with change of possession – it looks like they wanted extra time…

      • September 10th 2017 @ 6:30pm
        Jimmmy said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

        Seriously mate get counselling . The Sharks played dumb football . Maloney was dumb , Fifita was dumb , , just dumb. And you blame the Ref.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 6:41pm
          doogs said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

          so true. I was not expecting the Cowboys to win but I am so happy it was against the sharks. Everything was wonderful. Maloney sin binned was the best. Gallen going for a penalty and not getting it. Fifita throwing a garbage pass at the end. Best day ever

          • September 10th 2017 @ 6:50pm
            Jimmmy said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

            Gallen hero play before half time . I laughed so hard.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 6:49pm
          Psychodelia said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

          Congratulations Cowboys! Well done lads!

        • September 10th 2017 @ 7:05pm
          John Erichsen said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

          I couldn’t agree more. Gallen and co. can whine about refs all they like but it was the Cronulla players who botched multiple opportunities to put an under-strength Cowboys away. They should won the game before the full time whistle with a drop goal, but dumb Gallon refuses to take a tackle 10m out and set up a quick play the ball. Stupid is as stupid does…

      • September 10th 2017 @ 6:43pm
        no one in particular said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

        It’s not the rules fault Gallen tried to be the hero instead of taking the percentage play and the FG

      • September 10th 2017 @ 11:51pm
        Mike said | September 10th 2017 @ 11:51pm | ! Report

        The replay clearly indicates Fifita knocked it on.

    • September 10th 2017 @ 6:31pm
      Jason said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

      I love all the people complaining about bias refs. Never remember the ones that go for them and hold on to the ones against them for all time. If Mr Flanagan complains in the press conference that the refs cost them the season it will be hilarious.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 6:37pm
        Jimmmy said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

        I am so sick of Ref bashing . The better team on the day won . A few bad decisions but broke both ways.The Sharks played some incredibly silly football.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 6:43pm
          doogs said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

          me too. I was neutral on the Manly Panthers match. The calls were all marginal. I thought the refs and bunker did great but I guess Manly expected to win and felt like they were entitled to it but they did not. So now they have to have a sook.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 7:06pm
          Happy as Larry! said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

          Agree! The Cowboys had more ticker and that has nothing to do with the refs….they were the better team today. End of story!!!

        • September 11th 2017 @ 8:19am
          Nardio said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report

          Agree, Jimmy.
          No sport in the world has an obsession with ref bashing like rugby league.
          It’s predictable and soooo boring.
          Cronulla should look in the mirror. The Cowboys deserved to win on every count.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 6:38pm
        Adam said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

        I don’t think they’re biased, just stuck guessing at how to apply some fairly unrealistic rules. The sharks were definitely dumb and panicking at the end, but I think the fifiita knock on and subsequent penalty for 14 all were both quite poor decisions. But so was the penalty when the sharks were pinned on their line, leading to the Bird try. Coin tosses all round.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 7:14pm
          John Erichsen said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:14pm | ! Report

          It seems that anytime a ball hits the ground now, its ruled as a knock on. it seems harsh when the ball obviously goes backwards but the players don’t complain when forward passes from dummy half are never called.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 10th 2017 @ 7:41pm
        Joe said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

        You called it, the Sharks presser was just one big ref bashing session.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 7:57pm
          JVGO said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:57pm | ! Report

          It was the biggest stitch up since Greg Hartley. Manly and The Sharks were both robbed by ridiculous rules and rulings. Neither team was ever going to win the GF but it was honestly embarrassing. It was obvious from the first forward pass ruling today that the NRL wants Parra to make a run, the same way they were happy for the rub of the green to go the Sharks way last year. The ball goes backward it is not a knock on. You fail to catch it and the ball comes off your chest you simply cannot score a try. Someone plays at the ball and knocks it out it is not a knock on. I expected this stuff next week against Parra which would have been fair enough because Parra have had a far better season than us. No wonder they can’t get fans to turn up and watch this stuff.

          • September 10th 2017 @ 8:03pm
            Lovey said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

            Define “backwards”.

            • September 10th 2017 @ 8:11pm
              JVGO said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

              The ball continues to travel backwards toward your own try line. ie you know goes backwards. Look in the dictionary. The other way is called forwards.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 10:22pm
                Lovey said | September 10th 2017 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

                But if the ball deflects in a more forward direction? The hands are still knocking it, relatively, forward. Or do you only count those where the ball is closer to the opposite tryline than the hands?

                The rule is a bit open. Genuine question.

                They have been interpreting this the former way for quite some time. It has been pretty consistent.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 10:45am
                JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

                A more forwards direction?? This is the stupidity the Rugby League has got itself in by listening to morons like Gus.

            • September 10th 2017 @ 8:18pm
              db said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

              Backwards is a term that adequatley describes Paul Gallen.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 9:21pm
                Benji said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

                Backwards is not towards your opponents ingoal so if the ball goes straight down its not a knockon but try explaining that to some of the geniuses on this forum who love close finishes where bad guys lose and pay lip service to the rules. It reminds me of the Roller Game designed for TV where the LA Thunderbirds always won in the last minutes against the bad ass Texas Outlaws and even when they admitted it was fixed some of their fans stuck with them.

            • September 10th 2017 @ 9:29pm
              no one in particular said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:29pm | ! Report

              It’s called that way all season. It was a consistent call

        • September 10th 2017 @ 8:02pm
          JVGO said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

          Flanno was 100% correct. 100%.

          • September 10th 2017 @ 8:11pm
            Jimmmy said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

            You just have no idea . What about your dumb, dumb, dumb, team . Moloney, Fifita, Gallen e.t.c. Couldn’t have been them that lost it for you surely .?
            Love the bit about The NRL and Parra. The best way to ‘ fix ‘ the match is to award that first try to the Sharks. Yeah mate conspiracy , everyone is against you . Life is just one big fix.

            • September 10th 2017 @ 8:22pm
              JVGO said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

              I know what I saw. Gallen and Fifita were our two best on the day. Gallen has been our best all season. Probably wouldn’t have even made the semis without him. We got a good run all last year with the refs. I saw that too. Gallen and Fifita are no dumber or smarter than they were last year. This performance from the officials was a total joke, as it was last night.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 9:23pm
                kingcowboy said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

                Wrong! Graham was your best.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 9:26pm
                Benji said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

                They just want a close game and Cowboys were behind all day so naturally they got the benefit of the most of the calls and happened to be in front at the end. The looseness of some of the rules eg loose carry, stripping the ball etc means the ref can sway the way a game is going. Barrett, Arthur and Flanagan complained long and hard but it will happen again next week and next year so people wont be bothered going but will watch on Tv coz it costs them next to nothing (Fox has other things besides NRL)

              • September 10th 2017 @ 9:32pm
                JVGO said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:32pm | ! Report

                Yeah Graham played pretty good coming off an injury, but can go better.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 6:55am
                Andrew said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:55am | ! Report

                Luke Lewis was your best player. He has been your best all year.

          • September 10th 2017 @ 8:25pm
            Albo said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:25pm | ! Report

            I notice Flanno never mentioned the Sharks 60 % completion rate, 34 missed tackles and 17 errors ? Against a team of busted crocks . Maybe these were on the other side of his list ? I blame myself really , after tipping them this morning to make the GF with the Storm ! Kiss of death me !

            • September 10th 2017 @ 8:43pm
              Nico said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

              Notice Flanno also didn’t mention dubious penalty in lead up to Bird’s second try, or Bird’s first despite some suggestion the ball was grounded in-goal by the Cows. Oh well, at least there weren’t any 7th tackle tries this time

            • September 10th 2017 @ 8:44pm
              Rob said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

              Albo the Cowboys are not a team of busted crocks. They’re the pride of the North. I wonder if the Sharks would have won if NQ born and bred boys Holmes and Barba weren’t in a Sharks jersey last year?

              • September 10th 2017 @ 9:15pm
                Benji said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:15pm | ! Report

                The majority of the decisions went to the team behind on the scoreboard (as usual) and that was the Cowboys – makes for great TV but as far as credibility goes it ranks just below WWE. But the formula works for TV drama, close finishes and the arguments go back and forth for days in the press.

            • September 10th 2017 @ 9:22pm
              JVGO said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

              He didn’t mention the completion rate because the Cowboys weren’t much better and without a series of ridiculous decisions there’s no way they would have won the game. Watch them next week if you don’t believe me. The other fact is that Cronulla are a pretty ordinary predictable football team with too many ordinary players to win playing that way.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 9:29pm
                Benji said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:29pm | ! Report

                Its amazing how the defenders of the refs all have no club loyalties, have good spelling and grammar yet the occasional bizarre theory. Must be RL Central at work.

              • Roar Guru

                September 11th 2017 @ 6:20am
                The Barry said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:20am | ! Report

                Hahaha that’s brilliant!

                So anyone that doesn’t cry salty tears of refs fault after a game is an NRL stooge?

                And above you wrote that the NRL is rigged and like rollerball.

                And you think it’s calm rational people who say “oh well 50/50s happen, better team won on the day” have bizarre theories?

                Aaaahhahahaha that is brilliant.

                Geez – I don’t think I had a spelling mistake in there? Maybe I’m under some sort of NRL mind control. They must be drugging the water supply now!!!

              • September 10th 2017 @ 9:57pm
                Cald said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

                You’ve lost it mate, with a series of ridiculous decisions cronulla never score a try!

              • September 11th 2017 @ 6:49am
                Andrew said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:49am | ! Report

                I know you are hurting but at the end of the day you scored one legitimate try and it was from a grubber kick which with a different bounce could have gone dead. The Sharks did NOTHING to deserve to win that match.

              • Roar Rookie

                September 11th 2017 @ 12:29pm
                catcat said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

                Cowboys completed 80%..and had the better of the sharks across the rest of the stats 15 missed tackles, 10 errors etc

          • September 10th 2017 @ 9:11pm
            R N said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:11pm | ! Report

            Dude… Green could have read out a list of the same!
            Ball grounded in-goal prior to try
            5th tackle penalty for something that no one knows, leading to try
            Graham running 80 m after Linnett tripped by Sharks player on ground
            No penalty, but scrum for obvious off side after knock on
            etc…etc..

            There is always going to be mistakes and to tell you truth I didn’t think there where any howlers this arvo at all! Just a couple of the usual 50/50 that evened out nicely.

            Easy to be philosophical when it’s someone else team that’s shite!

    • September 10th 2017 @ 6:33pm
      Dumb and dumber said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

      Gallen and Fifita doing proving Gus right with selfish and dumb plays. End of first half the Sharkies should’ve gone for the drop goal but Gallen takes another run and loses the ball going for the try. Last play of the game and Fifita runs sideways instead of straight to set up for adrop goal and loses the ball.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 6:41pm
        no one in particular said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

        yep, 100%. But Sharks fans will ignore this, and ignore the fact they played the Cowboys without JT and hadn’t beaten a finals team since round 16

    • September 10th 2017 @ 6:43pm
      Bigj said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

      That was another contender for game of the year, what are comeback by the Cowboys. Too bad for the sharks but they have been lacking over the last few weeks

    • September 10th 2017 @ 6:50pm
      jeandetroyes said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

      I wonder if Parramatta will even bother training this week? I don’t really mean to be disrespectful to the incredible Cowboys (I just love ’em, really) but I’m afraid an inform side like Parra will just towel them up. Good riddance Cronulla!

      • September 10th 2017 @ 6:54pm
        kingcowboy said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:54pm | ! Report

        Yer I agree. Think the eels should just dismiss us. Eels should rest some players and get ready for the roosters!!

        • September 10th 2017 @ 7:00pm
          Jimmmy said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

          KC how was that mate !! Unbelievable. I am very worried though that the same thing will happen next week as happened last year after the Golden point Brisbane game. It’s so hard to back up after a game like today’s.
          But hey nothing this team does surprises me.

          • September 10th 2017 @ 7:30pm
            kingcowboy said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

            Brother I am so pumped! Morgs is now a top five player in league, carried us in the game. Mate I hear what you are saying but last year against the donkeys was a war. Today was tough but not on that level of last year IMO! Also think sharks are a tougher match for us then Eels. We shut down Norman and we win. Either way just a great year for us! Couldn’t be prouder of the boys!

        • September 10th 2017 @ 7:00pm
          Oingo Boingo said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

          I doubt the Eels will be taking them lightly, but they would have enjoyed that final ten minutes a lot more than the first 80.

          • September 10th 2017 @ 7:02pm
            Jimmmy said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

            Yeah Oingo , great win but how much petrol left for next week,

            • September 10th 2017 @ 8:37pm
              Albo said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:37pm | ! Report

              Jimmy, they keep turning up ! You can’t ask any more than that ! I thought Taumololo, Bolton , and Morgan were terrific for them . In fact the whole pack played well. My only query is why do they persist with Winterstein when he is obviously far from fit ? He was targetted by the Sharks and caught out twice for their two tries. Surely Ponga is a better option even though less experienced?

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