The North Queensland Cowboys have defeated the Cronulla Sharks 26-24 at Dairy Farmers Stadium this evening.
In what has easily been the game of the year so far, the Cowboys led 16-0, the Sharks stormed back to lead 24-16 and then the Cowboys came home in the final minutes of the match to win 26-24 with a Ty Williams double securing the win for the home side.
In a game where both sides played with fearsome aggressions, it looked as though the Sharks would win the match but their aggressions proved to be their undoing, as they lost sight of the game plan and started making silly errors at a crucial stage in the match.
The Sharks scored through Ben Pomeroy right on the stroke of half time and that was the catalyst for the Sharks to stage a comeback in the second half that saw them leading by eight points at one stage, but silly errors allowed the Cowboys back into the match and Jason Smith controlled the home side beautifully in the latter stages of the match with some great passing and kicking and some bruising defence.
Matt Bowen was superb from the back, proving to be more than a handful and his running late in the game kept the Cowboys in the match and gave them field position to mount their final assault on the Sharks and it paid dividends with a memorable win in front of a very vial crowd.
One of the highlights of the contest was the quality of the defence and the fact all the big names stood up to feature in such a high quality match. Smith, Bowen and Thurston for the home side and Gallen and Bird for the Sharks.
Match Details Round 12 - Full Time :: June 2nd, 2007 07:30 PM Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins
North Queensland Cowboys 26 Tries: Neil Sweeney, Scott Minto, Matthew Scott, Ty Williams (2) Goals: Johnathan Thurston (3/5) Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 24 Tries: Ben Pomeroy, Isaac De Gois, Greg Bird (2) Goals: Luke Covell (4/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Matthew Bowen (Cowboys) 2 Points: Greg Bird (Sharks) 1 Point: Jason Smith (Cowboys) LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary 1 min: We are underway at Dairy Farmers Stadium!
4 min: Both teams off to a solid start with the Sharks awarded a penalty for stripping.
5 min: Sharks knock on right on the Cowboys line and look very disorganised in attack.
8 min: Both sides making a few errors early on with the Sharks knocking in and have completed just one of their four sets.
11 min: The Sharks are on the attack with Luke Covell taking abomb and sets off downfield but is easily reeled in by the Cowboys defence. In fact, it may have been Carl Webb who ran him down!
13 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Scott Minto throws a great ball to Neil Sweeney who scores untouched near the posts and the Cowboys are on the board. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. North Queensland Cowboys 6-0
18 min: Cowboys looking sharp, playing a lot of inside balls that have the Sharks on the back foot.
19 min: Goal line drop out for the Coaboys as the Sharks apply some pressure and come up with a repeat set of six for the first time in the match.
25 min: Kimmorley kicks out on the full on the last tackle to take the pressure off the Cowboys.
29 min: Cowboys force a goal line drop out and are starting to gain the upper hand against the Sharks as we get to the latter stages of the first half.
31 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Scott Minto is having a memorable game, scoring in the corner to give the Cowboys a nice buffer leading into half time. The try came after the Cowboys were awarded a contentious penalty after Paul Gallen smashed Steve Southern. Ricky Stuart will no doubt have a lot to say about this incident after the match. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful. North Queensland Cowboys 10-0
35 min: Ben Pomeroy is run into touch by some great Cowboys defence. There is a lot of feeling in this match at the moment.
37 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Matthew scott scores under the posts and the Sharks are in all sorts now. They need to go and regroup at half time and comeback and think about the task at hand. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. North Queensland Cowboys 16-0
40 min: Possible try to the Sharks...
40 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Ben POmeroy scores right on the stroke of half time and this could be a massive turning point in the match for the Sharks, as they ahve been largely disappointing in the first half and now find themselves less than two converted tries behind the Cowboys. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. North Queensland Cowboys 16-6
41 min: We are underway in the second half!
45 min: Cowboys on the attack but knock on through Aaron Payne.
47 min: Cowboys knock from a scrum ten metres out from their own line.
49 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks De Gois scores off a great ball from Paul Gallen and the Sharks are now within a converted try of the lead. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. North Queensland Cowboys 16-12
51 min: Carl Webb penalised and then a fight broke out between he and Ben Pomeroy and the ill feeling that was simmering has exploded so expect a lot of big hits and agression for the remainder of this match.
53 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Greg Bird scores a great individual try and cuts the Cowboys defence to shreds and may have played himself into a NSW jersey. Great try for the Sharks. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 18-16
58 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Bird has scored again adjacent to the posts after Tronc gave the Sharks six more tackles. A long way back for the Cowboys now. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 24-16
61 min: Possible try to the Cowboys...
63 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys The Cowboys bounce back and score in the corner through Ty Williams. The Sharks are losing their way and are being overly agressive, which is leading to costly errors. Still, we are set for a grandstand finish to a very physical game. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful. Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 24-20
67 min: Both teams are treating this game as war with blood flowing on both sides through some extremely heavy physical contact.
72 min: Great game unfolding with all the big names stepping up in the final stages of the match. Jason Smith has come to life for the Cowboys and Gallen and Bird are leading the charge for the Sharks.
77 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Ty Williams scores under the posts in the dying minutes with Thurston and Smith the men to get the Cowboys out of jail late in the game. A superb game of footy with the Cowboys coming back at the death but there is still a couple of minutes to go so hang on, there may be a few mroe twists to this story before we are done. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. North Queensland Cowboys 26-24
80 min: The Cowboys hang on to win a thriller and the toughest game I have seen this year. Congrats to both sides on a fine game with both sides playing themselves to a standstill.