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Fortune favours North Queensland
North Qld Young Guns 34 defeat Tweed Heads Seagulls 30
North Queensland has won the rugby league lottery twice in one day, adding a spectacular Queensland Cup win over Tweed Heads to its heart-stopping NRL victory against Manly.
While attack earned the Cowboys a last-minute reprieve against Manly at Brookvale Oval, feeder team the Young Guns pulled out a 34-30 win at Piggabeen Oval with a crucial defensive play.
Already assured of a finals spot, the North Queenslanders could have rested on their laurels when Tweed centre Josh Vaughan broke into the clear in the dying moments.
However a decision by several players to turn and chase over 60m put Vaughan under pressure and he fumbled dramatically with the line open.
It was a defining moment in the season, with the Seagulls performing valiantly, yet perhaps throwing away their last opportunity of the season to gain ground on fifth-placed Toowoomba.
?When Josh broke through I was running up and down the sideline carrying on like a goose,? admitted Tweed coach Steve Murphy.
?I ran back to my spot as quickly as I could once he dropped it.?
Vaughan was unfortunate to have his performance tainted by the final mishap, given an otherwise outstanding display. North Queensland led 22-14 at halftime, but a try after the break by Vaughan gave the impetus for Tweed?s comeback.
The match had started with the Young Guns displaying ominous signs. Back from suspension Jaiman Lowe (pictured) scored two tries in the first 10 minutes, showing clear determination in his running.
?After those first two tries I thought the score could have been anything,? Murphy said.
?Our boys could have turned it up under the circumstances, but they tried very, very hard and I?m extremely proud of them for that.
?I think that?s our fourth loss by six points or less this season and throw in three draws as well.?
While Tweed is still a mathematical chance of reaching the finals, it has been leap-frogged by Wynnum and remains four points adrift of Toowoomba.
Meanwhile, North Queensland has maintained first place for at least another week, holding a one-point lead on the ladder from Burleigh. The Young Guns have two matches left against Central and Toowoomba, while Burleigh has three games under its belt against Norths, Easts and Wynnum.
A QRL judiciary hearing on Friday handed North Queensland forward Ben Lowe a 10-match suspension, omitting him from the remainder of the State League season.
Round 20 sees the Young Guns play the Comets in a rare Friday night match at Browne Park. Tweed Heads hosts Ipswich at the Piggabeen Complex on Friday.
NORTH QUEENSLAND 34 (Jaiman Lowe 2, Rory Bromley, Charles Vis, Brent McConnell, Wallace Solomona tries; Brent McConnell 5 goals)
TWEED HEADS 30 (David Strachan 2, Nathan Small, Josh Vaughan, Brad Davis, Kristin Green tries; David Starchan 3 goals)
Special thanks to the QRL website for another fantastic article.
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