It took a golden point field goal to superstar number seven Johnathan Thurston for the Cowboys to finally put an extremely brave Cronulla Sharks side away tonight at 1300SMILES Stadium in front of less than 12,000 fans.
The 20-19 victory means the Cowboys are guaranteed finals footy, however with the Minor Premiers elect on their way to Townsville next week, they'll have to improve dramatically.
The result looked a foregone conclusion after just two minutes as Jason Taumalolo touched down in the very first set of the game.
It took the Sharks almost a full five minutes to gain possession, but it only took them a further three minutes to post points.
A brilliantly worked try to fourth choice hooker Pat Politoni drew the sides level before the Sharks took the most unlikely of leads through a 22nd minute try to winger Sosaia Feki.
LU Man of The Match Thurston took control of the game late in the half, with his kicking game leading to three straight sets of six. Although the Sharks defended bravely, Thurston decided he's better off doing it himself, drawing the sides level with a show and go to score next to the posts.
Unbelievably the sides were locked up at 12 all at half time. The Sharks, pre-game, were out as far as $15 to win, and offered a 31.5 point start.
Most expected a Sharks side with 18 players unavailable, to tire, and when Jason Taumalolo was awarded a try, despite a great effort from Michael Gordon, the game looked done. A Thurston field goal put the home side seven points clear with less than five minutes remaining.
Human wrecking ball Sosaia Feki had other ideas, busting aside a host of would-be tacklers to score under the posts to set up a barnstorming finish.
The Sharks rarely threatened until a miraculous 45 metre field goal from Daniel Holdsworth with less than 20 seconds remaining brought the scores level.
Thurston's class shone in extra time as he directed his side around the park in their only set, before calming slotting the simplest of field goals to capture the win.
The Cowboys host the table topping Eagles next Saturday Night in a game with huge implications on not only the top eight, but the top four. Meanwhile the Sharks, who arguably put in their best effort of the season, travel to Leichhardt to play the struggling Tigers, in a game that will end both sides' seasons.