85:00
Sat 4 March 2017
1300SMILES Stadium - Crowd: 17548

Cowboys claim victory in Golden Point epic over Raiders

The Cowboys have scored a freakish try to record a 20-16 extra-time win over Canberra in their Round 1 clash in Townsville tonight.

If you are an avid Rugby League fanatic, This is the match you need to add to your personal collection! A hard fought match between the Cowboys and Raiders certainly seemed tough from kick-off.

Zac Santo - replacing Jack Wighton - made an impact from the word go. With Josh Papalii's line-break, passing to Santo meant Canberra were first to notch up points for their season.

The Cowboys put pressure on the Raiders from there, with five penalties awarded before Lachlan Coote crossed the line for the first try for the Cowboys' campagin. That pressure was constant for the Raiders, with hardly any room to breathe in a match where the penalty count ended up 11-4 by fulltime, Raiders heavily conceding penalties.

The second half had a fiery start, with Canberra's Clay Priest sent to the bin on the 52nd minute. This didn't seem to have too much impact, as Joey Leilua crossed the line, putting the Raiders up 10-6 after 58 minutes.

Coen Hess scored for the Cowboys and Johnathan Thurston converted to see his premiership points total eclipse 1,999 for his career! The score then favoured the Cowboys 12-10. Not long after, Javid Bowen then crossed to increase the Cowboys lead to 16-10. Thurston just missed out on getting to the magic 2,000 with his conversion drifting marginally to the left.

When we all thought it was over, Joey Leilua scored for Canberra just before full time, with Aidan Sezer converting and locking up the scores 16-all - sending the game to Golden Point!

In Golden Point, Michael Morgan had a crack at a Field Goal 30m out early, but was unfortunate as the ball flew far to the right of the posts. Jordan Rapana looked to have scored for the Raiders, but was called for a forward pass. It seemed that nobody at that point could score! The tensions at that moment were off the charts in Townsville!

Then - the clutch play. Thurston took a field goal attempt and it hit the crossbar. Off the backspin, the ball falls in-goal, to which Gavin Cooper is there to collect the ball and ground it, ending the pressure at 1300Smiles and sending the home fans away as winners.

Next week the Cowboys are headed down the Bruce Highway to Suncorp where they'll face state rivals Brisbane on Friday night, while the Raiders are at home to premiers Cronulla on Saturday night.

Report by Andrew Taranto. Follow Andrew on Twitter @Tarantosaurus.

3. Joseph Leilua

With 2 tries and 14 runs totaling 126 metres, Joey Leilua was involved quite heavily for the raiders play. When they needed it the most, Joey was there, helping Canberra even up the scoring with his 2nd try at the end of the 2nd half.

2. Jake Granville

Jake Granville was always involved in the play, throughout the game. While he did have an injury, his impact on the game credited the Cowboys immensely! He's the player that does the little things that is easy to look over.

1. Jason Taumalolo

Jason Taumalolo always maintained the pressure on the attacking Raiders, and always kept the Raiders on their toes. When the Cowboys were attacking, any point of time that Taumalolo had the ball, he made strong runs through the defense.