Brave Sharks go down in Golden Point

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.


Match Details
North Queensland Cowboys 20 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 19
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium
Crowd: 11712
Halftime Score: North Queensland Cowboys 12 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 12

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Johnathan Thurston
2 points - Chris Heighington
1 point - Sosaia Feki

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (20)
Tries: Jason Taumalolo (2), Johnathan Thurston
Field Goals: Johnathan Thurston (2/2)
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (3/3)

CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (19)
Tries: Pat Politoni, Sosaia Feki (2)
Field Goals: Daniel Holdsworth (1/2)
Conversions: Michael Gordon (3/3)


LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

TEAM NEWS | The Cowboys are one to seventeen. The Sharks are without Michael Lichaa and Tinarau Arona from the named side, replaced by bench forwards Pat Politoni and Junior Roqica. The replacements on the interchange are now Penani Manumalealii and Patrice Siolo.

Welcome to League Unlimited's Monday night footy coverage. Thanks for joining us, we know there's plenty going on out there today. The red hot Cowboys will be looking to put the horribly under strength Sharks to the sword as they look to lock in their spot in the 8.

Patrice Siolo and Penani Manumalealii come in for the Sharks for the injured Lichaa and Arona. The Sharks will start the game with just five of their preferred 17 tonight. Meanwhile for the Cowboys, they look strong. Frighteningly strong

The Cowboys are $1.03, the Sharks are out to about $20 ... can the Sharkies pull of THE biggest upset in recent times? Probably not, but here come the Sharks all the same

1: Penalty Cowboys. The last thing the Sharks need is to concede penalties. Cowboys to start 30 out

2: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Jason Taumalolo. Kick to come.

Simple try. One pass right, JT goes over next to the posts. Too easy.

3: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

This could be kicking practice for JT. Converts easily from next to the sticks

4: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Tautau Moga makes an unforced error.

Moga sends the ball into touch. If the ball had found its man, the Cowboys looked in.

5: it's taken almost five minutes but the Sharks will get possession.

6: Cowboys forwards monstering the Sharks pack.

7: TRY CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Scored by Pat Politoni. Kick to come.

TRY TIME SHARKS!!! Great play from the Sharks ends in a beautiful try to the hooker

8: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful.

Gordon from right in front. 6 all. Weeeeellll, that wasn't in the script. Great play

9: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Jeff Robson makes an unforced error.

Robson knocks the ball on from the kick off. Cowboys with a chance to hit straight back

10: Robson with a huge cut on his head.

10: Accidental elbow in the tackle. Robson is patched up and will continue

11: Sharks hold out the Cowboys. Brilliant set in defense. Robson still bleeding heavily

13: Sharks run 90 metres from a Cowboys kick

13: We're off to the video. Possibly try to Val Holmes. On field is no try

13: No try ... Sharks penalty for off side

14: Great play there for the Sharks. Throwing the ball around

15: Cowboys survive and will start from their own goal line

15: Penalty Cowboys. The Sharks probably should have scored twice there, but instead will have to defend a fresh set from inside their own half after a penalty in the ruck.

17: Penalty Cowboys. Some poor discipline here from the Sharks. Cowboys with a fresh set, 10 out

18: Sharks come up with the ball after a poor effort from Thurston. Penalty Sharks. Amazing effort thus far

20: The Sharks have had their moments in the opening 20 and should probably be leading. The Cowboys need to play some simple footy

21: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Tariq Sims makes an unforced error.

Knock on Sims. Sharks have the ball 40 out

22: Possibly try to Feki in the corner. Looked good, on field decision is TRY!!!

22: TRY CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Scored by Sosaia Feki. Kick to come.

Feki over in the corner. The Sharks LEAD 10-6 KTC

23: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful.

Beautiful conversion from the sideline. Just inside the far upright. Wow aye?

25: great set after the try. They went 60, Cowboys have the ball 15 out from their own line after two tackles.

25: Lui with a good kick-chase. Turned the Sharks around

27: Thurston with a clever kick, earns the line drop out. Much better set from the home side. Tamou made an immediate impact with a big hit up from the bench.

29: Thurston getting PLENTY of touches here. Rolls the ball in and tackles Feki to force a third straight set. Sharks will do well to hold them out here

31: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Johnathan Thurston. Kick to come.

Thurston taking charge, goes himself and will level this game up after a try through the middle. Poor defense but strong from the number 7

32: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

12 all. Thurston has taken over and is running the show. He earned the second and third sets, he scores the tries, he converts. JT!!!

33: Beautiful take from young Holmes under huge pressure from the charging Cowboys. Cowboys back on top tho

34: Decent kick from Holdsworth. Cowboys forced to start their set inside the ... oh nevermind, PENALTY Cowboys.

35: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Rory Kostjasyn makes an unforced error.

Huuuuuuge forward pass releases the pressure on the Sharks

36: Penalty Sharks and there's a little but of push and shove between the big boys. Nothing in it. Sharks to kick from their 20

38: cowboys rucking it away from their own line. It certainly hasn't been all one way traffic

38: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Tariq Sims makes an unforced error.

Sims tries to force a ball but it ends up with Feki for the Sharks.

39: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Blake Ayshford makes an unforced error.

Poor handling there from the centre turn back rower turn centre. Cowboys with the ball inside their own half

40: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Blake Ayshford makes an unforced error.

Copy and paste stuff here. Cowboys with the ball in great attacking position, 20 seconds on the clock

40: Sharks will hold them out. 12 all at half time. Amazing stuff from the Sharks. 18 top liners missing (thanks Fox Sports)

40: Very competitive half. The Sharks will obviously be a mile happier with the scoreline than their hosts. Thurston looks keen to blow this game wide open, but the Sharks aren't going to go down without a fight. Big second half coming up here.

40: This is a huge second half coming up for the Cowboys. If they fail to blow away the Sharks in the second 40, what does it do to their confidence before hosting the Eagles next week? For the Sharks, it's all about pride. They can be very proud of that opening half, but it could still come un stuck if they don't come out with similar intent.

40: Here come both sides for the second half. Cowboys with 60% possession so far (thanks again Fox Sports)

40: Penalty Cronulla. Hand in the ruck. Fresh set in great attacking position

42: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Jeff Robson makes an unforced error.

Forward pass on the last from Robson. Sad ending to a promising set

44: Thurston sends it into orbit but Gordon takes it comfortably.

45: Sharks bust the Cowboys WIDE OPEN up the middle. A bad decision on the final pass sees the Cowboys pick up the lose ball but worrying signs there. Luetele broke them apart after half busts from Feki and Holmes

45: Penalty Cowboys. They needed that. Fresh set from the halfway line

46: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Robert Lui makes an unforced error.

Lui drops the ball just five out from the Sharks line. Much better from the Cowboys tho in the lead up

48: Ohhh interesting kick from Lui. Feki watches it JUST trickle over the backline. That looked dangerous

50: Cowboys back to the 20 with a fresh set of seven. Insert 7 tackle try joke here... and away we go

51: Feki looking dangerous out of dummy half. Cowboys starting to win the battle in the middle tho

52: Brilliant play up the middle from the Cowboys. 20 out, 3rd tackle

52: Penalty Cowboys: hand in the ruck. Cowboys to attach from less than 20 out here

53: Theyve taken it back 20 metres here. Tamou runs it back to almost the blade of grass the penalty was given from

53: Possible try to Robert Lui. Weak defense, the Sharks let themselves down there. On field decision is try

53: NO TRY!!! The ball came away from Lui's grip. Sharks survive

54: Penalty Sharks. Hand in the ruck. Pressure relieved. Sharks on the attack

55: Holmes creates a chance but some brilliant defense out wide forces him to throw a desperate pass back into play. it's gone about 8 feet forward. Cowboys with the lose head and feed

57: Games become a hit up fest. Cowboys getting a roll on

58: Possible try to the Cowboys. A Thurston grubber hits the post and Taumalolo is quickest to react. On field is TRY

58: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Jason Taumalolo. Kick to come.

The on field decision stands despite an amazing effort from the Sharks fullback. You couldn't see the ball hit the ground, but there was no evidence to over rule the on field decision

59: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Straight down the middle. Cowboys back in charge

61: Social media is pretty split over the try ruling. Would be nice to go one game without a refereeing controversy

61: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Blake Ayshford makes an unforced error.

The Sharks run it on the last and Blake Ayshford puts it into Row C off the boat. His wing partners Holmes down in back play

64: Great tackle by Sopoaga and Masima. Sharks have the ball 30 out from their own line

65: Few quick play the balls and the Cowboys are on a roll. Looking to ice this game now

66: Thurston with a rare poor option on the last. Sharks have to bring it out of their own end yet again

66: PENALTY. That will help. Holmes quick out of dummy half earns the penalty

67: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Kyle Feldt makes an unforced error.

Knocks on. Possible intercept but only managed to knock it down

68: Linnett possibly in trouble after a shocking lifting tackle on Ayshford. penalty Sharks

68: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Junior Roqica makes an unforced error.

Horrible error to ease the pressure. Simply knock on

69: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Tautau Moga makes an unforced error.

Moga hands the ball back to the Sharks with 12 to go. 30 out

70: Lui does well to get back into play after a clever kick from Holdsworth. Nothing set there from the Sharks

71: Big metres up the middle for the home side. Looks ominous

72: Bit of an arm wrestle here. Thurston dictating terms but Sharks just will not go away

73: Sharks find the line just ten out. Neither side rushing to the scrum

74: Sharks have to force an error here

74: penalty Sharks. Dangerous tackle, below the knees as he was being held. Huge let off there

75: Cowboys working for a field goal?

75: SUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Field goal attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

There it is as predicted

77: Sharks get the ball back as the ball literally travels 10 metres on the DOT

77: TRY CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Scored by Sosaia Feki. Kick to come.

Feki is in for the Sharks. An absolute WRECKING ball effort sent the Cowboys would be defenders for dead. He runs it under the posts

77: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful.

Time off as the ball goes through the posts. 19-18. Wow

79: Holdsworth with a horrible attempt at field goal to square it up. Ayshford made a break, Sharks were a chance there if he made another 5 or so metres

79: Sharks have to go 90 metres here if they're to be a shot

80: SUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Field goal attempt by Daniel Holdsworth successful.

HOLDSWORTH WITH A 45 METRE FIELD GOAL!!! WE'RE ALL SQUARE!!!

80: time is up. 19 all. WOW!!!

80: We're going to golden point. An insane 45 metre drop goal to Holdsworth leveled the scores with seconds to go

83: Cowboys in position

83: SUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Field goal attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Thurston converts from simple range. Brilliantly set up. Cowboys snatch it

84: What a game. Anyone who gets pick the score tonight ... well there won't be any so no need to comment. 30+ points start. Brilliant game

85: What else can be said ... WOW!? What a night. Stay tuned for the match report

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