Rise for Alex round has started with The North Queensland Cowboys scoring a 36-18 victory at an emotionally charged Remondis Stadium.
Rise For Alex round started off on a touching yet sombre start with both sides paying tribute side by side to Alex McKinnon before marking a minutes silence to remember the 298 people (including 28 Australians), who sadly lost their lives in the loss of flight MH17.
Once the game started, things couldn't get worse for the Sharks with Michael Gordon dropping a Robert Lui bomb inside the first 60 seconds which lead to a try for Tariq Sims.
The next set wasn't a lot better for the man known as Flash when another kick from the Cowboys was knocked on, luckily for Gordon in the process of scoring the try, Rory Kostjasyn was ruled to have gone into touch in the process of grounding the ball.
The pressure wasn't off for the Sharks because in the ensuing set, Johnathan Thurston showed his class with a dummy which opened up the defence and he darted through to take the lead out to 10-0 after just 5 minutes.
For the next 18 minutes the attack slowed down but the referees whistle didn't stop with a seamless end of penalties coming from the men in pink with 9 penalties coming within as many minutes.
The run of penalties was stopped when some excellent work by the Cowboys set up an overlap and it was Antonio Winterstein who was the beneficiary of free space to the line and following the JT conversion from the sideline the Cowboys lead 16-0.
That was the end of the scoring from the Cowboys in the first half but the penalties kept coming and with each penalty the Sharks got more and more momentum and they managed back to back tries first through Jono Wright then through Luke Lewis to bring the score back to 16-12 after the conversion.
The second half started as a mirror image to the first half with back to back errors against the Cowboys as well as a run of 4 straight penalties to the Visitors.
The Cowboys opening points of the second half came through a JT penalty goal to stretch the lead out to 18-12, this was followed up by a try out of nowhere by the "Plasticine man" Michael Morgan who managed to keep himself going and stretch out with elastic arms to score under the posts. Soon after Glenn Hall scored another try under the posts to extend the lead out to 18 following JT's easy conversion.
The regular Video Referee controversy raised its head again after Johnathan Thurston was awarded a try by the Video Referees despite a clear case of a 2 on 1 strip after a player dropped off the tackle, this confused fans and Sharks players considering this rule is enforced in almost every match played in a weekend.
It didn't change the result of the match, but nonetheless the Sharks were unhappy with the call but ultimately they got the last laugh when they scored through Michael Gordon to bring the score back to 36-18.
The Cowboys have a nervous wait, with Ashton Sims and Robert Lui both placed on report for separate high tackles within minutes of each other.
Next weekend, the Sharks make the trip over the Blue Mountains when they take on the Penrith Panthers at Carrington Park in Bathurst next Saturday afternoon, meanwhile the Cowboys take on the Canterbury Bulldogs next Saturday night.