Cowboys crush Knights finals hopes

The North Queensland Cowboys have survived a late run by the Newcastle Knights to win 28-24 in Extra Time tonight in front of a paltry 12,000 fans at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

Errors punctuated the opening sets of the game and despite plenty of attention on their own line, the Knights managed to break through for the first try of the match, Jarrod Mullen setting up Ben Rogers up the middle. Luke O'Donnell struck back for the Cowboys within minutes and the match went largely tit-for-tat from there. North Queensland were up by two at the break before Newcastle drew level not long after the resumption of play.

From here, the Cowboys begun some creative attack and it paid dividends, tries to Willie Tonga and O'Donnells second sending them ten points clear. Their inclination to fall asleep late came to the fore with five minutes left however, and the Knights capitalised to draw within six points before a last-minute try and conversion courtesy of Cooper Vuna and goalkicking captain Kurt Gidley leveled the scores and sent the game into Golden Point.

The Knights managed just one long-range field goal attempt, while the Cowboys decided to go left on tackle five, with Will Tupou resisting five Knights defenders up the sideline to plant the ball down and earn a famous victory for the Townsville club. Whether it brings the fans back for the remaining home matches at Dairy Farmers remains to be seen, but it will definitely rate as a highlight of an otherwise poor season.

Next week the Cowboys are rewarded with a stint on Friday night footy as they head to Penrith, while Newcastle have an extended layoff before their absolute last-chance saloon against Manly at EnergyAustralia on Monday-week.

Match Details
North Queensland Cowboys 28 defeated Newcastle Knights 24
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 20 - Saturday July 24, 2010 7:30pm
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Referee: Steve Lyons and Chris James
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Clayton Sharpe and Gavin Reynolds
Crowd: 12,146
Halftime: North Queensland Cowboys 14 Newcastle Knights 12

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Anthony Watts (1 Try)
2 Points - Kurt Gidley (3 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
1 Point - Scott Bolton

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (28)
Tries: Luke O'Donnell (2), Anthony Watts, Willie Tonga, Will Tupou
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Johnathan Thurston (1/1)

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (24)
Tries: Cooper Vuna, Akuila Uate (2), Ben Rogers
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Kurt Gidley (1/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary A moments silence for broadcaster Peter Mitchell who passed away this week. The Cowboys were victorious in Toyota Cup 38-14, a few changes to the Knights lineup wih MacDougall ruled out - North Queensland lose Grant Rovelli at five-eighth and he is replaced with Ty Williams.
1 min: We're underway at Dairy Farmers Stadium, the home team with first possession.
2 min: An early break from Scott Bolton has Knights coach Rick Stone seeing red but the Knights drag him down 20m out and defend out the remainder of the set. The Knights on their return set are able to run it as far as the Cowboys 30m - defence already clearly not a concern for either side...
4 min: The first penalty of the night awarded to North Queensland puts them in the attacking zone but Bolton mistimes his run and drops the ball close to the line on tackle three and its a knock-on. An ugly opening few minutes so far.
7 min: North Queensland with the better of the territory so far in this one, but Newcastle defence has been surprisingly good so far.
9 min: After a few sets coming off their own line, the Knights get a penalty for a Luke O'Donnell high tackle (no surprises there) and will piggy-back out of their own half.
11 min: TRY
TRY Newcastle Knights
Scored by Ben Rogers. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
Mullen gets easily through the middle of the Cowboys defensive line on halfway, he's made a break and Ben Rogers is in support to run the remaining 20 metres to score tonights first four-pointer, which Gidley converts into six.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
13 min: Oh dear... a drop ball on tackle two from Newcastle gives the home side a chance.
14 min: TRY
TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Scored by Luke O'Donnell. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.
The Akuila Uate error costs the Knights dearly, the Cowboys play the numbers to right and we've got their retalitation almost immediately through Luke O'Donnell. Thurston's conversion is wobbly but successful and we're level.
6 all
17 min: A terrible fifth tackle option from Matt Bowen, he runs the ball and is grounded with barely a fight. Newcastle return the ball now and are making easy metres.
21 min: Thurston with an ambitious run down the left sideline, grubbers ahead but it's over the touchline.
23 min: We're headed upstairs to the VIDEO REFEREE for a possible try to Anthony Watts for the Cowboys. A chip from Watts bounces twice, the second time on its point, and away from Akuila Uate... Watts dives on the scraps... Decision pending.
25 min: TRY
It's a... TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Scored by Anthony Watts. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.
The video referee doesn't have a problem with it, nor do I - bad luck for Uate, it's a Cowboys try to Anthony Watts. Thurston again wobbly but converts.
North Queensland Cowboys 12-6
27 min: An attempted intercept by the Cowboys gives the Knights six again within the opposition half. The Newcastle attack is shortlived however as they spill it ten metres out.
29 min: O'Donnell delivers Thurston a forward pass from dummy half just as the Cowboys began to look dangerous.
34 min: Cowboys do well to force repeat sets.
36 min: Up to Mr Cooley in the box again - VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Knights try to Akuila Uate.
37 min: TRY
TRY Newcastle Knights
Scored by Akuila Uate. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
Fantastic line break for the Knights flyer and he beats Bowen before overcoming the attention of Scott Bolton to get the ball down. Gidley converts Uate's try to level the scores shortly before halftime.
12 all
40 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY GOAL North Queensland Cowboys
Penalty goal attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.
Anthony Watts manages to niggle a penalty for the hosts, just inside 30m out right in front. Thurston will take the two... and the Cowboys lead 14-12.
North Queensland Cowboys 14-12
HALFTIME in Townsville where North Queensland lead by two in what has been a fairly even contest. An average game all told with a few errors each side, nothing terribly special in attack and some pretty feeble defence. Both teams are making it clear they will not contest finals football this season, but we'll still get some entertainment in the second half. Stay with us...
41 min: Welcome back to Dairy Farmers Stadium. North Queensland kick off, Newcastle run the ball up for the first play of the second half.
41 min: Luke O'Donnell gives away another penalty for a high tackle, Newcastle after just two tackles will be inside the Cowboys half with a fresh set.
42 min: Close but no cigar for the Knights, McManus on the end of a Mullen bomb drops it over the tryline.
45 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY GOAL Newcastle Knights
Penalty goal attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
A run of penalties and the Knights level the scores with this one, through a Kurt Gidley two-pointer.
14 all
49 min: More penalties, the count now 6-2 in Newcastle's favour - but the Cowboys defence holds and Tonga is able to repel Uate's last ditch attack.
51 min: An unlikely try? VIDEO REFEREE again for a Kurt Gidley four pointer. Is he short? Decision pending...
51 min: NO TRY, Gidley was short. Some question mark over Watts' use of his boot to keep the ball off the tryline but no problems for referee Lyons who rules a changeover for the Cowboys. An offside penalty on tackle two assists the Cowboys out of their own half.
53 min: The Cowboys on the attack and Uate plucks a Thurston pass out of the air... and drops it. No intercept but instead a Cowboys scrum, 10m out.
55 min: A very unfortunate penalty against Newcastle - Issac De Gois is injured in the previous play the ball and is unable to clear the ruck, and is penalised for not moving. As players clear from the area, it's obvious he's got blood streaming from his mouth having copped some elbows and stray arms... he'll come off the park as well. No luck for Newcastle.
56 min: Anthony Watts goes close... but not close enough. Dropping the ball short of the line according to referee Lyons and we'll see Newcastle with the scrum.
58 min: Phil Cooley getting a workout tonight... VIDEO REFEREE again for a possible Willie Tonga try to send the Cowboys in front.
59 min: TRY
TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Scored by Willie Tonga. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.
It's Willie Tonga over in the corner and the Cowboys have the lead, some quick work out of dummy half and even quicker hands from Johnathan Thurston send the Cowboys centre in for his 11th try this season. Thurston from the touchline... he's managed to hit the right upright and get it in for the second time tonight! Great conversion!
North Queensland Cowboys 20-14
63 min: The Knights with some good attack and Gidley makes great inroads into Cowboys territory but Mullen's last tackle kick finds Tonga and the Cowboys escape this time.
66 min: TRY
TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Scored by Luke O'Donnell. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.
It's another try for Luke O'Donnell and short of a miracle it looks like the Cowboys might get home tonight! Thurston's missed this one though, from the other side of the park.
North Queensland Cowboys 24-14
69 min: A damaging defensive effort following a superb kick-chase - an entire set of six within the Cowboys 20 for the Knights and Mullen's caught on the last! Handover ten metres out and the Cowboys can finish the visitors off here...
70 min: Ouch... the Cowboys had the numbers to the right but the Thurston cut-out pass out the back goes bouncing one.. two.. and across the touchline.
71 min: Superb dummy-half movement from Newcastle this time gets them to halfway and Mullen earns a penalty for Taumata holding on too long. Now the Knights have the ball inside the Cowboys 20.
71 min: Dane Hogan down with spinal injury concerns after his head was impacted attempting to tackle Kurt Gidley. He's being carefully monitored and medicabbed off.
Crowd of 12,146 in here at Dairy Farmers Stadium tonight, quite a low figure for a ground that was managing over 20,000 just a few short years ago.
74 min: TRY
TRY Newcastle Knights
Scored by Akuila Uate. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley unsuccessful.
Newcastle take to throwing the ball around a bit and it pays off in the right corner with Aku scoring his double. Gidley from the sideline fades away to the right. Six the difference with as many left on the clock.
North Queensland Cowboys 24-18
76 min: The Cowboys survive the first onslaught but an error in attempting an offload from Carl Webb means they'll have another shot here. Grandstand finish coming up...
77 min: Gidley with a huge cut-out pass, Tupou interce... no, he's dropped it! Ten out, Knights scrum!
78 min: We're going upstairs for what could be the final time tonight - VIDEO REFEREE for a try to Cooper Vuna in the corner. There's a potential obstruction half a year before the try but it hasn't affected play in any way, shape or form... surely.
79 min: TRY
TRY Newcastle Knights
Scored by Cooper Vuna. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
So here it is... video referee Phil Cooley says TRY. Vuna has scored in the corner, Gidley now to level the scores. He moves in, strikes it - it... is... there! Off the upright and with 45 seconds on the clock it's 24-all!
24 all
80 min: End of regulation time and for the second time this weekend we're going to Extra Time! 24-all!
81 min: We move into the first stanza of Golden Point. Newcastle have first possession.
82 min: TRY
TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Scored by Will Tupou.
It's a try for the Cowboys, Will Tupou in the corner and it's game over! The Cowboys have won and seemingly destroyed the Knights finals aspirations! FULLTIME
North Queensland Cowboys 28-24

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