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The North Queensland Cowboys have defeated the Penrith Panthers 30-28 in front of 11,648 fans at Dairy Farmers Stadium this evening.
In a match dominated by errors and penalties, the lead was exchanged throughout the match before the Cowboys were able to do enough to hold onto the lead in the final five minutes to claim vitory.
It was not all smiles for the Cowboys however, with young forward Tariq Sims stretchered off the field in the second half with suspected broken leg.
It was the Panthers who drew first blood in the match, with Clint Newton scoring the opening try in only the seventh minute of the match. Blake Austin added the extras.
The Cowboys hit back seven minutes through fullback Matt Bowen, who through a dummy before slicing through the Panthers' defence. Bowen converted his own try to level the scores.
The home side were over again in the 18th minute with Ashley Graham capping off a brilliant team try to put the Cowboys in front. Bowen missed the conversion to keep the Cowboys' lead at six.
The Cowboys were given several opportunities to extend their lead before Travis Burns put Austin in a gap. Austin offloaded to a charging Lachlan Coote who scored. Austin added the extras to put the Panthers in front.
As the half drew to a close, the Panthers were given several shots at the Cowboys' try line. However, forward passes and lost balls from the Panthers saw the Cowboys' survive and the score remained unchanged heading into the break.
A knock on from Panthers' forward Chris Armit early in the second half saw the Cowboys right on the attack in only the 42nd minute. Antonio Winterstein scored off a Bowen cross-field kick to open up the scoring in the second-half. Bowen added the extras.
A Gavin Cooper try in the 49th minute extended the Cowboys' lead to eight. Bowen added the extras. The Panthers hit back in the 53rd minute through Travis Burns. Austin added the extras, while Tariq Sims was transported off with the previously mentioned leg injury.
A penalty to the Cowboys 10 out from the Panthers' line in the 59th minute gave Bowen an opportunity to extend his side's lead to six, and he made no mistakes with his shot at goal.
A Brad Tighe try in the 65th minute followed by another successful conversion saw the Panthers level the scores with less than 15 minutes left in the match. The visitors claimed the lead in the 69th minute with Josh Mansour diving over in the corner. Walsh failed to add the extras from the sideline.
It was then up to the Cowboys to claw their way back, and they did so with a 75th minute try to Ashton Sims following a well-placed Ray Thompson kick. Faifai-Loa batted the ball back for the big forward who scored the try close to the posts. Bowen's conversion put the hosts up by two, a lead which they maintained til the final siren despite some desperate Penrith attack.
Next Sunday will prove to be a real test for the Panthers as they head home to host reigning premiers Manly at Centrebet Stadium, while down The Northern Road on the same afternoon the Cowboys will visit Campbelltown as they look for back-to-back away wins and aim for their fourth straight NRL victory against the in-form Wests Tigers.
North Queensland Cowboys 30 defeated Penrith Panthers 28
National Rugby League - Round 11 - Saturday May 19, 2012 7:30pm
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Referee: Steve Lyons and Chris James
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Dave Abood and Clayton Sharpe
Halftime: North Queensland Cowboys 10 Penrith Panthers 12
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (30)
Tries: Matt Bowen, Ashton Sims, Ashley Graham, Antonio Winterstein, Gavin Cooper
Conversions: Matt Bowen (4/5)
Penalty Goals: Matt Bowen (1/2)
PENRITH PANTHERS (28)
Tries: Clint Newton, Brad Tighe, Travis Burns, Lachlan Coote, Josh Mansour
Conversions: Luke Walsh (1/2), Blake Austin (3/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening folks and welcome to Dairy Farmers Stadium where the North Queensland Cowboys take on the Penrith Panthers.
The Cowboys will go into the match with the same 17 named on Tuesday afternoon. For the Panthers Luke Walsh is back and will start at halfback, Travis Burns will start on the bench with Matt Robinson dropped out.
1 min: Laclan Coote gets us underway in Townsville
3 min: The Cowboys receive the first penalty of the match, they are 35 metres from the Panthers' line.
5 min: Panthers get a penalty 40 out from their own line.
8 min: TRY
TRY! Luke Walsh grubbers into the in goal on the last and Clint Newton is there to claim opening points of the match. Blake Austin adds the extras.
Penrith Panthers 6-0
9 min: Matty Bowen's kick off goes out on the full and the Panthers get a penalty on half way.
10 min: Laclan Coote grubbers into the in-goal but Etu Uaisele knocks it forward trying to ground it.
14 min: Walsh kicks it out on the full and the Cowboys will go on the attack.
16 min: TRY
TRY! Matt Bowen throws the dummy and slice through the Panthers defence to score. Bowen adds the extras.
17 min: Cowboys receive a penalty on halfway.
19 min: TRY Northern Storm
TRY! The Cowboys spread it wide through Ray Thompson and Matt Bowen and Ashley Graham scores in the corner. Bowen's conversion attempt from the sideline is unsuccessful.
North Queensland Cowboys 10-6
21 min: The Cowboys receive a penalty 10 short of halfway and will go on the attack again.
22 min: Bowen grubbers on the last a few metres from the Panthers' line and Coote knocks it on trying to clean it up. Cowboys' scrum 10 out from the Panthers' line.
23 min: The Panthers survive after Cootes cleans up a Bowen grubber.
27 min: TRY
TRY! Travis Burns puts Blake Austin into a gap on halfway, Austin puts the accelerator on and passes to Coote 10 out from the try line. Coote scores under the black dot. Austin adds the extras.
Penrith Panthers 12-10
31 min: James Segeyaro knocks on playing the ball and the Panthers will get a scrum eight metres into Cowboys' territory.
32 min: Kevin Kingston is pinned for a forward pass 10 out from the Cowboys' line.
34 min: Panther receive a penalty 30 out from the Cowboys' line.
34 min: Austin knocks the ball on over the line.
36 min: The Panthers receive another penalty, 40 out from their own line.
37 min: Bowen cleans up a kick 3 metres out from his own line and Cowboys are off the hook.
39 min: Panthers are on the attack again after a great kick return and a Cowboys' knock down to give the Panthers six again.
40 min: Walsh is pinned for a forward pass 10 out from the Cowboys line.
40 min: The Siren sounds before the scrum is packed and that's the half.
41 min: Matt Bowen kicks off to bring the second half underway.
41 min: Chis Armit knocks on 40 out from his own line.
44 min: TRY
TRY! Bowen puts up a cross-field kick and Antonio Winterstein is there to score for the Cowboys. Bowen adds the extras.
North Queensland Cowboys 16-12
45 min: The Panthers get penalty 20 out from their own line.
46 min: Geoff Daniella knocks on and the Cowboys will go on the attack.
47 min: The Cowboys will get a line drop out after Coote is forced to bat the ball dead, Walsh protests Steve Lyon's decision and the Panthers are penalised.
50 min: TRY
TRY! Michael Morgan grubbers through on the third and Gavin Cooper scores a try. Bowen converts the try.
North Queensland Cowboys 22-12
51 min: Tariq Sims loses the ball just short of halfway and Austin dives on the loose ball.
51 min: Sims elbows Austin while he's on the ground and is penalised and placed on report.
52 min: The Panthers will get six again after Kalifa Fai-Fai Loa knocks on a Walsh bomb.
54 min: TRY
TRY! The Panthers spread it out to Burns who strides through a gap to score. Austin adds the extras. Tariq Sims is stretchered off the field with what appears to be a broken leg.
North Queensland Cowboys 22-18
56 min: The Cowboys will get a scrum 40 out from the Panthers' line after a knock on.
57 min: The Cowboys receive a penalty 10 out and Bowen will take a shot at goal.
59 min: PENALTY GOAL
Bowen kicks the penalty to stretch his side's lead to six.
North Queensland Cowboys 24-18
60 min: The Cowboys will receive a line dropout.
61 min: The Panthers are penalised for interfering in the play the ball.
62 min: PENALTY GOAL ATTEMPT
Cowboys opt to go for the two but Bowen misses it, however, the ball bounces off the upright and back into the field of play and the Cowboys have it again.
North Queensland Cowboys 24-18
63 min: Thompson grubbers through on the last and it goes dead.
64 min: The Panthers receive a penalty.
66 min: TRY
TRY! Brad Tighe caps off a brilliant team try by scoring in the left corner. Walsh adds the extras to square up the score.
Penrith Panthers 24-24
68 min: Coopers loses the ball 20 out from his own line.
69 min: Possible try to the Panthers!
70 min: TRY
TRY! The Panthers spread it out wide and Josh Mansour scores in the corner. Walsh misses the conversion from the sideline.
Penrith Panthers 28-24
74 min: Possible try to the Cowboys here.
75 min: TRY
TRY! Ashton Sims scores under the posts after Bowen goes to the air. Bowen adds the extras.
North Queensland Cowboys 30-28
76 min: The Cowboys receive a penalty 20 out from their own line.
77 min: The Panthers will get a tap 20 after Bowen's kick goes dead.
78 min: The Cowboys are penalised for being offside and the Panthers will go right on the attack.
79 min: Burns loses the ball 10 out and the Cowboys are off the hook. The Panthers had numbers out right too.
80 min: Sims runs into touch as the full-time hooter sounds and the Cowboys hang on to win 30-28.