Luke Burt scored the winner and converted it to steal a 22-20 victory for Parramatta at home against a spirited North Queensland outfit.
The Parramatta Eels have won their second match for 2011, winning a see-sawing battle over North Queensland with both sides turning up with their A game and ready to play. North Queensland opened the scoring through winger Ash Graham thanks to a Matthew Bowen cut-out ball.
Thurston would play architect for the second try, spotting that there was space down the left side and got it to Kalifa Fai-Fai-Loa to continue his stellar start to 2011 making Cowboys fans forget Michael Bani. Thurston would learn from his first conversion and swung this over to make it 10-0 early.
Who else but Luke Burt to score Parramatta's opening points, with the play starting from Jarryd Hayne offloading to Joel Reddy who got it to Burt who touched down to equal Brett Kenny for the leading try-scoring record for Parramatta. They brought us back to level terms going into halftime when Ryan Morgan got his first try in grade and Burt cooly converted.
The second stanza didn't start how North Queensland wanted with an early drop ball but it was redeemed with Fai-Fai-Loa swandiving over to give the Cowboys the lead. It would't last long though, Parramatta hit back, giving Uaisele the try and making it a try for every winger in tonights game, setting the stage for a cracking final twenty.
Boy, they didn't disappoint, with both sides having attacking raids on eachs line, seeing who would blink first and it was Parramatta who blinked. Johnathan Thurston who was involved in every thing tonight, saw a weakness down the blind and gave it to Willie Tonga to wrest the lead back from the Eels and seven minutes to hold on.
It wasn't to be for North Queensland, James Tamou dropped it on the halfway line, giving Parramatta one final chance to level the game and maybe even win it. Down to the last tackle, Jeff Robson puts it in the air, Graham knocks on and Luke Burt scores to take the try-scoring record for himself but importantly to have a chance to win the game.
Burt with the kick to win the game didn't disappoint, putting the ball over straight down the middle and win the game for Parramatta bringing them to 2 and 2, same as North Queensland.
Parramatta Eels 22 defeated North Queensland Cowboys 20
National Rugby League - Round 4 - Saturday April 2, 2011 7:30pm
Venue: Parramatta Stadium
Referee: Jared Maxwell and Phil Haines
Video Referee: Russell Smith
Touch Judges: Luke Potter and Jason Walsh
Halftime: Parramatta Eels 10 North Queensland Cowboys 10
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Johnathan Thurston (2 Conversions)
2 Points - Luke Burt (2 Tries, 3 Conversions)
1 Point - Kalifa Fai-Fai Loa(2 Tries)
Parramatta Eels (22)
Tries: Luke Burt (2), Etu Uaisele, Ryan Morgan
Conversions: Luke Burt (3/4)
North Queensland Cowboys (20)
Tries: Ashley Graham, Willie Tonga, Kalifa Fai-Fai Loa (2)
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (2/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to the second of our games for tonight in Super Saturday. This clash sees Parramatta look to find a happier hunting ground back home against a resurgent Cowboys side, coming off a huge win against Melbourne at home.
Earlier in the Toyota Cup, North Queensland prevailed in a close contest, 34 points to 28.
Both sides are 1-17 as per the teams released on Tuesday, so this will be a cracker.
1 min: Matthew Bowen with his start in this game, will take the all time game record off Paul Bowman. While we see highlights, both sides have entered the playing arena and Thurston kicks off.
2 min: Both sides seem up for the contest tonight, with pressure on both kickers thus far.
4 min: First penalty of the night to North Queensland, pinged for offside after repeated warnings.
7 min: TRY Northern Storm
Cowboys off their first attacking raid, spread it early in the count, with Matt Bowen throwing a superb long ball to Ashley Graham to opening the scoring tonight. Thurston hooks the conversion from the sideline.
North Queensland Cowboys 4-0
9 min: A good kick from Parramatta has North Queensland pinned back in their own twenty but they are let off when Glenn Hall has the ball stripped from his grasp.
11 min: Ashley Graham almost had his third double in as many weeks but the pass from Thurston is judged to be forward.
14 min: TRY
Thurston tries to kick it early in the count but it rebounds off Ben Smith into Ray Thompson who almost goes the whole way but is rounded up by Luke Burt just before the line. Quick play the ball and a cut-out pass gives Kalifa Fai Fai Loa, the second try of the evening. Another sideline conversion from Thurston and he's learnt from the previous one and squeezes this just inside the posts.
North Queensland Cowboys 10-0
16 min: Eels fans are baying for a penalty but instead they get a huge shot from Matthew Scott who has a head clash with Tim Mannah. Both men have some battle wounds but it should be fine.
17 min: A cheer goes up from the stadium, with Parramatta recieving their first penalty of the match, for a strip. Off the tap, Matthew Scott crunches Tim Mannah again.
20 min: TRY
Parramatta decide to run it on the last, Mortimer gets it to Reddy who flicks it onto Burt who plants the ball down to equal the try-scoring record of Brett Kenny for the Eels at 110 tries. Burt has a chance to convert his own try but it just goes wide.
North Queensland Cowboys 10-4
22 min: Can't keep Luke Burt out of the action at the moment, he returns a ball at pace and earnt his side a penalty. Parramatta have a chance to bridge the gap between the two sides but Jarryd Hayne who has been playing distributor tonight tries another long ball to Luke Burt which goes over the sideline.
24 min: Risky business there from Parramatta letting a bomb bounce but luck is favouring them at this point. They earn a penalty for a bunch of Cowboys players being offside at the kick.
26 min: Ashley Graham spoils his good opening to the contest, dropping a simple bomb to gift Parramatta a repeat set but nothing comes of it.
28 min: Taniela Lasalo just ran through a huge hole and streamed downfield, offloaded to Reddy. Charlie Webb just on the field, goes close to scoring but is held. Parramatta dribble it in for a repeat set.
30 min: More pressure on North Queensland here with a penalty. Jarryd Hayne is deep here, feigns to throw it long but goes himself and it pops free after a try-saver from Matthew Bowen.
33 min: TRY
Mistakes will cost the Cowboys soon, Carl Webb dislodging the ball from a North Queensland player. Parramatta go for the long backline play and fool the Cowboys with players in motion allowing Ryan Morgan to score his first try in the NRL. Luke Burt converts from besides the goalposts.
36 min: Johnathan Thurston tries to claim a 40/20 after Etu Uaisele slips over but the referees rightfully want nothing of it.
40 min: Last set of the half here, North Queensland has a chance to end the half positively but it's knocked on to pour water on that idea. That is halftime.
41 min: We're back on the field for the second half, after an absorbing first half. Luke Burt gets proceedings underway again.
42 min: Not the start the Cowboys wanted, Thurston kicks it straight down Hayne's throat and he struggles in the tackle to earn a penalty, added to that an extra ten metres for backchat.
Checking upstairs to see if Kalifa has done a superman?
46 min: TRY
A spread from deep in their own half pays off for North Queensland, it allowed space for Kalifa Fai Fai Loa who pins the ears back and despite attention from Ben Smith does a superman and scores without going into touch. Thurston has his third for the night, again from the sideline but too much hook on this one and it goes wide.
North Queensland Cowboys 14-10
49 min: Lasalo with a silly penalty on fourth trying to rake the ball away and following a super kick, North Queensland are 25 metres out, with a full set.
50 min: James Segeyaro tries another flat pass but this is judged forward and a let off for Parramatta.
52 min: Another shift wide from the Cowboys but it breaks down again, Will Tupou dropping it cold.
55 min: TRY
Now every winger has a try in this match. On last, they go Robson to Hayne to Smith who gives it to Uaisele to plant it down in the corner. Luke Burt on his preferred side, slots this one without any dramas.
Parramatta Eels 16-14
57 min: The small but vocal Parramatta crowd have found their voice again, when Robson puts a hit on Thurston to pop the ball out.
58 min: Matthew Bowen leaps high and takes the bomb on last from Parramatta. He earns a penalty as well, using the quick tap rule, set starts on the fifty. Cowboys spread it on last but Hayne defuses the long pass to Graham that will cost them another set.
61 min: North Queensland peppering the line here but can't crack it. Thurston tries a crossfield kick to Graham on last, who grabs it by his boot laces and offloads to Tupou who is collected.
63 min: Ill timed forward pass here, was just getting in the grind between these two sides. Robson is overrun by the option runner and still tries to throw the pass but it's forward.
66 min: What a ball from Johnathan Thurston finds Glenn Hall into acres of space and odds on to score. Nathan Hindmarsh does what he does best, stripping the ball just before the tryline and saving a certain try. His effort is rewarded with a first tackle penalty. Parramatta though try the miracle play early in the count and it goes over the sideline.
70 min: TRY
North Queensland are throwing it around again and almost in again but they are denied again by Hayne and Hindmarsh. Thurston goes down the short side on last and gives it to Tonga who slips and slides over the white line for the try. Thurston has his easiest kick for the night and swings it over.
North Queensland Cowboys 20-16
75 min: Here is the chance for Parramatta, James Tamou spills the ball trying to unload. Anthony Mitchell is in gaga land, after a stray elbow from Tamou.
Checking if there was a knock on and offside from Parramatta here or Luke Burt takes the try-scoring record himself.
77 min: TRY
Parramatta have levelled things up here! Jeff Robson with a pin point kick, which is spilled by Graham and Luke Burt just says thank you very much. He also takes the try-scoring record himself and converts the try for good measure.
Parramatta Eels 22-20
80 min: North Queensland are steaming downfield but they go for the powerplay on last and it doesn't come off. Parramatta Stadium erupts and that should be all she wrote.