The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have claimed a controversial victory over the North Queensland Cowboys, 26-21, at Central Coast Stadium in front of 10,013.
The controversy came as the Sea Eagles were awarded a late try by the video referee despite questions over an obstruction play ran by Jamie Buhrer.
Steve Matai opened up the points account as he stepped easily away from the Cowboys right side defence. The Sea Eagles, 6-0 after just 5 minutes of play.
North Queensland then went on to score three tries through Kyle Feldt (21st minute) and a double to Brent Tate (26th and 32nd minute) who racked up his 80th career try. The Cowboys in command as Johnathan Thurston led his team around the park comfortably to take a 14-6 lead into the sheds after 40 minutes.
Thurston looked to extend the lead to 10 points shortly after the resumption of play with a penalty goal, however his radar missing the mark. The Cowboys lead, 14-6 after 42 minutes.
There has been a lot of media focus on the playing future of the Stewart brothers with contract negations continuing with the Manly club. However, talks not effecting their play as they linked together to send Jorge Taufua over in the corner for the first of his two tries. 10 minutes into the second half, Cowboys 14-10.
Curtis Rona on debut for the Cowboys made it a night to remember as darted over the try line via an offload from Michael Morgan. Rona stamped his mark on the game as the Mackay Cutters player doesn't appear like he will see much more of the Queensland Cup.
Jorge Taufua posted his second try as he won a foot race with Michael Morgan as he bolted down the sideline. The Sea Eagles closed the game to six points, 20-14.
The video referees put themselves in hot water again as a controversial call saw the Sea Eagles lock the game up at 20-all. An obstruction play was left unpenalised as Jamie Buhrer stopped in the defensive line blocking Ray Thompson's tackle on Foran.
Thurston looked to have clawed back victory in the 75th minute with a pin-point field goal, 21-20, however it wasn't to be as Manly went on to upset the travelling Cowboys with a Jamie Buhrer try. Kieran Foran backed himself to play to run the ball on the last tackle to set up his second rower.
The Sea Eagles upsetting the Cowboys, 26-21, as captain Johnathan Thurston said post match he was used to calls going against the North Queensland club.
"When you're playing in a Cowboys jersey you get used to it"
Next week the Cowboys will be out to prove themselves again as they come up against Eels in the first of 3 home games in a row at 1300SMILES Stadium. Meanwhile the Sea Eagles head back to Brookvale Oval to battle the Canberra Raiders.