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In a largely see-sawing game, the Panthers dominated for much of the game but really only put the foot down late in the game, turning a two point deficit into a ten point lead before the Cowboys hit back with two late tries to draw level with a minute remaining. It was four minutes into Golden Point Extra Time before the Cowboys claimed victory with an Ashley Graham try.
The scoring opened when Pritchard crossed in the first 5 minutes for Penrith, a simple open side play saw him carve up soft defence. From there the lead exchange went between each team, the Bowen brothers each scoring for the Cowboys with Michael Jennings for Penrith picking up a four-pointer in between the two to give us a 10-all halftime score.
No more than two minutes into the second half and we saw Sione Fauimuina on report for a vicious hit on Panthers hooker Luke Priddis. Within the next ten minutes each team bagged points - the Panthers through Geoff Daniela while the Cowboys regained a two point lead as LeagueUnlimited.com Man of the Match Ashley Graham scored the first of his three second half tries.
The Cowboys held the lead until the 67th minute, Penrith prop Joel Clinton busting over through sustained pressure on the line and then Jennings completing his double to seemingly win the match for the home side.
The Cowboys weren't finished however, Justin Smith crossing and then a set later, Ashley Graham's second try saw scores level. A boggling missed conversion from Thurston meant we were headed for extra time - the Cowboys opting away from the field goal as Thurston went out wide, offering the ball for Graham to plant the match winner in front of the small but vocal 7,618 fans at the ground.
The win keeps the Cowboys in the top four for another week despite some very indifferent displays of late, and all but assures the Panthers of everyone's favourite league-related kitchen utensil - the wooden spoon. Keep a lookout for the Cowboys as they host the Dragons next Saturday at Dairy Farmers, while on Sunday the Panthers will try to bravely offload the spoon in Newcastle when they face the Knights.
Match Details Round 22 :: August 13th, 2007 07:00 PM Venue: CUA Stadium Referee: Jared Maxwell
Penrith Panthers 26 Tries: Frank Pritchard, Michael Jennings (2), Geoff Daniela, Joel Clinton Goals: Michael Gordon (3/5) North Queensland Cowboys 30 Tries: Brenton Bowen, Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham (3), Justin Smith Goals: Johnathan Thurston (3/6)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to CUA Stadium tonight - the Cowboys fighting to maintain a top four position despite indifferent form of late, while the Panthers are primed and keen to avoid the spoon.
Stay tuned for team changes and kickoff.
The Cowboys have seemingly lost Jacob Lillyman to injury.
FIRST HALF KICKOFF We're underway!
4 min: First attacking shot goes to Penrith... and on tackle five - Brenton Bowen allows the ball a bounce and once he scoops it up he's trapped in goal. Another six for the home side now.
6 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Great try from Frank Pritchard, Panthers hooker Priddis kept the Cowboys guessing and the try was easily scored down the left by the bullocking second rower. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Sammut unsuccessful. Penrith Panthers 4-0
11 min: INJURY North Queensland Cowboys - Steve Southern Southern appears to have injured his shoulder - possible dislocation. He will take no further part in today's game.
16 min: Johnathon Thurston has been hit in an absolute pearler from Panthers centre Maurice Blair and appears winded. Time called off as he regains his breath.
21 min: The Panthers put a massive bomb up but do nothing to defend it and as a result Bowen makes a huge break. Cowboys on the attack.
24 min: VIDEO REFEREE Cowboys...
24 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys A great kick-chase try from Brenton Bowen and an even more amazing conversion from Thurston gives the Cowboys the lead. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. North Queensland Cowboys 6-4
29 min: TRY Penrith Panthers A sensational hit on Bowen just when the Cowboys were looking dangerous and they knock the ball out, Jennings picked the ball up and ran the 50m to score. The video referee wasn't used however - and suggestion is he knocked the ball out. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 10-6
31 min: A bit of a slapfight erupts between the sides and Penrith come away with a penalty.
34 min: Some beautiful expansive football is followed by a drop ball for Penrith, very unlucky for the Panthers who have been playing well tonight.
38 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Matty Bowen scores a nice long range try for the Cowboys and they draw level with the Panthers while the Cowboys fullback continues to streak away at the top of the NRL tryscorers list. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful. 10 all
HALFTIME 10-all Penrith getting one last shot at the line before halftime but unable to cross it after what's been a pretty solid half of football. Both teams showing why they can win but neither really putting their stamp on the game yet. The team scoring first in the second half should win but in reality the game is anyone's. Keep your eyes here for the second half soon.
SECOND HALF KICKOFF We're underway for the second half.
42 min: ON REPORT Sione Faumuina - North Queensland Cowboys Faumuina hits Luke Priddis quite deliberately high but isn't sent off. Priddis looks groggy.
44 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Panthers try... Decision pending. NO TRY - 20m Restart
46 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Great try in the corner to rookie winger Geoff Daniela after some great work by the Panthers' key players to get the ball out wide. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon unsuccessful. Penrith Panthers 14-10
49 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys A try out wide and the Cowboys hit back through Ashley Graham, a relatively soft try. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. North Queensland Cowboys 16-14
59 min: A penalty to Penrith against Cowboy Ashley Graham for an alleged grapple tackle. More attack for the Panthers who've had plenty of possession but no points in the last ten minutes.
62 min: VIDEO REFEREE Panthers try... Decision pending. NO TRY - Play The Ball for the Cowboys. Geoff Daniela ruled to have knocked the ball forward for Jarrod Sammut to score.
67 min: TRY Penrith Panthers After continued pressure on the Cowboys line, Joel Clinton busts over powerfully near the posts and the Panthers reclaim the lead. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 20-16
71 min: TRY Penrith Panthers The Panthers are powering home and the Cowboys look dead in the water after some scintillating stuff from Michael Jennings. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 26-16
76 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys The Cowboys strike back and a close one looks highly possible here at CUA as Justin Smith scores and suddenly there's just four points in it again. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. Penrith Panthers 26-22
80 min: A dubious ruling on fulltime sees us going to golden point - the Panthers packed a scrum with a second remaining but referee Maxwell called fulltime.
FULLTIME We're going to Extra Time - Golden Point!
81 min: Our first Golden Point in Monday Night Football begins!
82 min: Peter Wallace drops the ball from a Waterhouse offload. Disappointing stuff as the Panthers looked strong. Now the Cowboys on the way...
83 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL North Queensland Cowboys Bowen misses a field goal. 26 all
84 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Ashley Graham scores the try and the Cowboys have won a golden point thriller! North Queensland Cowboys 30-26