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The Roar


'I wouldn't say we deserved to win': Payten left wondering as Chad burgles Cowboys victory over Knights

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16th March, 2024

Chad Townsend has rescued the Cowboys with a field goal in golden point to deliver a dramatic win over the Knights in Townsville.

The halfback slammed his kick through the posts at the first opportunity to make it 21-20, the first time that his side had led on the night, in the 82nd minute.

The Knights will be sitting in the sheds wondering how they didn’t win. Their dominance in the first half was total and should resulted in an unassailable lead, before leading again by more than a converted try going into the final quarter.

“I’m really proud of them in terms of turning around a performance in seven days,” said Adam O’Brien.

“There’s no doubt there’s some things that we need to get a whole lot better and smarter at.”

North Queensland were left sweating on the fitness of Heilum Luki, who left with an injury to his left ankle, and that is just one of their issues.

There were some positives for Todd Payten, not least that his side won and showed spirit to stay in the game and fight back, but the list of negatives will also be lengthy.

“I wouldn’t say we deserved to win,” he told the post-match presser.


“But we found a way and in 10, 12 weeks no one really remembers how you won at the start of the year. When it mattered, we got it done but we didn’t play well.”

Their lack of control, discipline and composure were there for all to see for much of the game and, but for similar traits being found in their opponents, this could have been a heavy defeat.

The quality of the finish belied what was, at times, a very poor quality game.

Val Holmes should have won it in regulation but sent a conversion wide, compounding a horror night that saw him go 2/5 from the tee.

The Cowboys put in one of the all time worst first halves: they made 12 errors, gave away eight combined infringements, missed touch twice from penalties and, when they had their only shot at points, Holmes sent his kick wide.


It wasn’t lucky that they got out just 12-0 down at the break – it was a minor miracle.

Newcastle weren’t at their best either and lumbered over their attack, though got their rewards eventually through weight of pressure and possession.

Adam Elliott, hardly a tryscoring machine, scored both tries and the second, from an equally unlikely source of creativity in Hetherington, was softer than soft.

Payten read the riot act at half time and got an immediate response.

Within five minutes of the restart, North Queensland were just two points behind. Feldt was at the heart of both their scores, producing a miracle offload for Chad Townsend for the first and scoring the second himself to level the club record.


Newcastle struck back almost instantly through Greg Marzhew, and added a penalty goal from a failed short dropout that extended the lead to 18-0.

Tom Dearden set up the grandstand finish and Jeremiah Nanai looked to have sealed it, only for Holmes to fluff his lines again with a simple kick.