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Trent Barrett on his fourth opportunity sealed a frantic 20-19 victory for the Cronulla Sharks at DairyFarmers Stadium in front of 13,063 fans.
Cronulla were in all sorts in first half, with North Queensland piling on the pressure early and Willie Mason opened the scoring with his first try at his new club, running through a gap as wide as Sydney heads. Matthew Scott continued the trend of frontrowers scoring barging over in the 20th minute, scoring his first try of the year.
They struck once more before halftime, with big Carl Webb taking a suspect pass from Aaron Payne to steamroll the defenders to score, making the scoreline 18 points to nothing going into oranges.
Cronulla needed to improve their handling and complete their sets to get back into the game.
That is what they did, coming out a much improved team in the second half but their first try came from a lucky bounce from Tonga being hammered, with Ben Pomeroy strolling in. Anthony Tupou turned playmaker for the second try drawing in several defenders and basketballing it to Isaac Gordon who dives over untouched.
Cronulla had clawed their way back into the game and inched closer with Trent Barrett, Anthony Tupou and Nathan Gardener to bring the advantage of the Cowboys down to four points. Tim Smith took over goal-kicking duties from the 1/2 Gardener but didn't do any better, missing.
The game turned into an arm wrestle with North Queensland having several opportunities to kill off the Sharks comeback but they couldn't. Cronulla completed the comeback in the 3rd minute with Paul Aiton burowing over but Nathan Gardener missed a conversion which would have put them infront.
Trent Barrett had several chances to seal a momentous victory for Cronulla but missed with two attempts, allowing Johnathan Thurston to launch his side downfield and showing Barrett how its done, slotting it easily. John Morris turned the unlikely hero when 30 seconds from time, kicking the levelling field goal sending us to extra time.
Extra time degenerated into a shootout, with Johnathan Thurston and Matthew Bowen having unsuccessful attempts for North Queensland, Cronulla used a variety of kickers with Barrett, Smith and Morris taking opportunites, the best coming from a John Williams dropped ball.
Johnathan Thurston could of sealed the victory with a penalty goal, off a John Morris strip but he pulled it wide,showcasing a lacklustre night for the goal kickers. Trent Barrett on his fourth attempt finally guided one through the posts for a famous Cronulla victory.
North Queensland Cowboys 19 were defeated by Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 16 - Saturday June 26, 2010 7:30pm
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Referee: Gavin Badger and Brett Suttor
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Daniel Eastwood and Michael Wise
Halftime: North Queensland Cowboys 18 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 0
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Trent Barrett (1 Field Goal)
2 Points - Nathan Gardner (1 Try, 1 Conversion)
1 Point - Johnathan Thurston (3 Conversions, 1 Field Goal)
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (19)
Tries: Willie Mason, Matthew Scott, Carl Webb
Field Goals: Matt Bowen (0/2), Johnathan Thurston (1/1)
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Johnathan Thurston (0/1)
CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (20)
Tries: Ben Pomeroy, Paul Aiton, Nathan Gardner, Isaac Gordon
Field Goals: John Morris (1/2), Trent Barrett (1/4), Tim Smith (0/1)
Conversions: Nathan Gardner (1/3), Tim Smith (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to Dairy Farmers Stadium for the bottom of the table clash between the Cronulla Sharks and North Queensland Cowboys. Earlier in a low scoring u20 game, the Cowboys truimphed 20-8.
Two changes for the Cronulla Sharks with Broderick Wright and Adam Cutherbertson starting, shifting Anthony Tupou and Josh Cordoba to the bench. A whole host of changes for the Cowboys, the most signifigant Arana Tauamata on the bench, with Grant Rovelli. Dane Hogan, Willie Mason and Leeson Ah Mau will start the game.
1 min: Johnathan Thurston gets tonights game on it's way.
1 min: A penalty within the first minute for the Sharks with the Cowboys holding on too long.
2 min: Cronulla shift it early but Ben Pomeroy can't handle and it breaks down.
3 min: Another error early in the tackle count by Cronulla, inviting North Queensland to attack.
4 min: North Queensland go the opposite side of playmaker Thurston and Ah Mau drops it cold.
11 min: Adam Cuthbertson hasn't had a happy beginning to the game, penalised for holding onto the leg.
14 min: TRY
Wille Mason pours into a gap wider than Sydney Heads to score the opening try and his first for North Queensland. Thurston completes the easy conversion attempt.
North Queensland Cowboys 6-0
15 min: Cowboy markers are penalised for not being square.
18 min: Shannon Gallant bursts through another wide gap in the Sharks line and is taken down by Gardener but its deemed too high.
20 min: TRY
Another front rower is in! This time Queensland rep Matthew Scott who wards off an attempt by Douglas to slam it down. No worries again, with Thurston slotting the conversion.
North Queensland Cowboys 12-0
23 min: Johnathan Thurston is worse for wear after dropping the ball when tackled.
24 min: John Williams stops a certain try with Nathan Gardener wrapping around but clipped by Williams and drops the ball.
25 min: Johnathan Thurston follows a nice Webb offload to throw numerous dummies, finally getting it to Payne who tries a flick but drops the ball from a great Issac Gordon tackle.
28 min: An almost 40/20 from John Morris with the ball taking an unlucky bounce just before the 20.
29 min: A suspect forward pass from Thurston gives Cronulla a full set on halfway.
30 min: Cronulla waste another attacking movement with an error.
32 min: Tautai fresh on the field drops it with his first touch.
33 min: Carl Webb is denied a chance being the third frontrower to score when he's judged to have knocked on.
37 min: Tim Smith butchers a deadset try with a blatant forward pass, after a nice Pomeroy break.
40 min: Trent Barrett makes a meal of a pass right on the edge of halftime.
40 min: TRY
He won't be denied this time, Carl Webb off a suspect pass from Aaron Payne to steamroll over the tryline. Johnathan Thurston finishes the half off with a successful conversion.
North Queensland Cowboys 18-0
41 min: Tim Smith gets the game back underway.
43 min: Cronulla nearly come up with possession but Barrett knocks on.
45 min: TRY
Gallen hammers Tonga who was the intended reciever and Pomeroy swoops and scores their opening try. Gardener converts easily.
North Queensland Cowboys 18-6
47 min: Cronulla are looking more expansive now, Anthony Tupou tries to offload but gets the ball stripped.
50 min: TRY
Cronulla are in again. Anthony Tupou draws in several Cowboy defenders and basketballs it out to Gordon who strolls in. Gardener misses the conversion.
North Queensland Cowboys 18-10
51 min: Cronulla get their first repeat set of the game, keeping it alive on last, Barrett dribbles it into the in-goal and Thurston takes it dead.
53 min: The reepeat sets are coming thick and fast for Cronulla with the winger taken over the sideline.
55 min: TRY
They edge closer even more, Trent Barrett combines with Anthony Tupou to suck in defenders and offload to Nathan Gardener to dive over. Tim Smith takes his first conversion but misses.
North Queensland Cowboys 18-14
58 min: A short side play this time from Cronulla doesn't come off with Gordon stepping on the sideline.
60 min: With a quarter of the game to go, North Queensland bring on their newest signing Arana Taumata.
61 min: Cronulla can't handle the ball and drop it in dangerous territory.
64 min: Two promising attacking raids by North Queensland are repelled by Cronulla.
65 min: Tim Smith commits a stupid error, holding Leeson Ah Mau off the ball, conceding the penalty.
66 min: Arana Taumata nearly had a dream debut scoring his first try but he juggles a Thurston kick and drops it.
69 min: Cronulla get a second set, with their halfback Tim Smith going off!
71 min: Repeat set to Cronulla from an unsuccessful intercept from Matt Bowen.
73 min: TRY
Cronulla complete the biggest comeback in club history with Paul Aiton burrowing over from close range. Gardener misses the conversion which would have put them ahead.
75 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Trent Barrett misses the first of what may be many attempts of field goal.
76 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Trent Barrett takes a second shot at field goal but again it goes wide.
77 min: FIELD GOAL
Thurston though with his first attempt slots it.
North Queensland Cowboys 19-18
80 min: FIELD GOAL
Cronulla go for the option kicker John Morris who nails his first attempt.
81 min: Cronulla get the first set of extra time.
82 min: Trent Barrett launches a high bomb and John Williams doesn't look comfortable under the bomb and spills it.
82 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Tim Smith is back on the field and misses a field goal from ten out.
84 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Matt Bowen tries a field goal but it ends up more like a bomb.
84 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Matt Bowen tries a field goal but it ends up more like a bomb.
85 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Barrett just can't get it right, he hooks another field goal.
85 min: PENALTY GOAL ATTEMPT
Johnathan Thurston misses a penalty goal to win the game from a contenious strip.
86 min: Tim Smith kicks off the second half of Extra Time and it bounces and goes over the sideline. Cronulla ball.
87 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
No one can kick a field goal to break the deadlock, Morris misses this time.
88 min: FIELD GOAL
Fourth times a charm for Trent Barrett, he finally kicks one to win the game for Cronulla.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20-19