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.