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The North Queensland Cowboys have overcome an 8-point deficit at half-time to defeat the Cronulla Sharks 28-20 in front of 12,655 fans at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Young Cowboys backrower James Taumalolo barged his way over for his second try in the 71st minute to give the Cowboys a 2-point lead, and Matt Bowen sealed the result with the final play of the game when he scored off his own grubber kick.
The Sharks made the perfect start to the game when Isaac Gordon scored in the first set of the match. Gordon received an offload from Captain Paul Gallen before weaving his way through some lazy Cowboys defence to give the Sharks a 6-point lead.
The Cowboys were lacklustre in the first half as they struggled to break some spirited Sharks defence but they eventually got on the scoreboard when Taumalolo scored his first try in the 31st minute.
It was a fighting performance from the Sharks and just before half time Wade Graham finished off an 80m movement to give them a deserved 14-6 lead at half time.
Stung by an almighty spray from coach Neil Henry, the Cowboys provided the perfect response when they scored in the opening minutes of the second half through Glenn Hall.
The Cowboys took the lead for the first time in the 61st minute thanks to an acrobatic put-down from winger Ashley Graham as he got the ball down with his body out of the field of play, but the Sharks hit straight back through Paul Aiton to reclaim the lead.
The Cowboys were far from their best in attack but thanks to Taumalolo's second try they hit the front in the 71st minute before Bowen sealed the result.
The win came at a cost for the Cowboys who lost boom rookie Tariq Sims in the first half when he suffered a suspected broken ankle. Tackling-machine Dallas Johnson also came off for the Cowboys when he suffered severe concussion after being knocked out by the knee of Kade Snowden.
North Queensland Cowboys 28 defeated Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20
National Rugby League - Round 25 - Saturday August 27, 2011 7:30pm
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Referee: Tony De Las Heras and Alan Shortall
Video Referee: Bernard Sutton
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Peter Gough
Halftime: North Queensland Cowboys 6 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 14
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Jason Taumalolo (2 Tries)
2 Points - Aaron Payne
1 Point - Isaac Gordon (1 Try)
North Queensland Cowboys (28)
Tries: Matt Bowen, Ashley Graham, Glenn Hall, Jason Taumalolo (2)
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (4/5)
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks (20)
Tries: Paul Aiton, Wade Graham, Isaac Gordon
Conversions: John Williams (3/3)
Penalty Goals: John Williams (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Hello and welcome to tonight's live coverage of the clash between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks.
The Cowboys are looking to break a 3-game losing streak, while the Sharks are in desperate need of a win, losing their last 6.
Under 20's- North Queensland 42 def. Cronulla 22
1 min: Kick Off! The Cowboys kick off and Cronulla have first use of the football.
2 min: TRY
First set, first try! Gallen offloads to Isaac Gordon who bursts into space and turns Matt Bowen and Ashley Graham inside-out to give Cronulla a dream start.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6-0
7 min: The Cowboys shift the ball right and Ashley Graham streaks down the sideline but his namesake Wade makes a great covering tackle to drag him into touch.
9 min: Thurston kicks the ball dead on the last tackle and Cronulla have a 20m tap.
12 min: PENALTY GOAL ATTEMPT
James Tamou penalised for tackling Albert Kelly in the air. The Sharks elect to take the two but John Williams hooks his kick left of the uprights.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6-0
15 min: Dropout Cowboys. Bowen drops an Albert Kelly grubber into his in-goal and Ray Thompson cleans up.
15 min: Injury- Paul Gallen has come from the field with a neck/shoulder injury.
17 min: PENALTY GOAL
John Williams makes no mistake this time after the Cowboys gave away a penalty 20m from their line.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 8-0
20 min: Tupou penalised for a strip and then there is some push and shove between the players. Cowboys take a tap 10m from the Sharks line.
21 min: Tariq Sims forces an offload and Colin Best dives on the football.
24 min: Colin Best breaks through the line and finds Isaac Gordon in support who looks destined to score but Ash Graham makes a brilliant try-saving tackle.
26 min: Thurston can't take a Wade Graham bomb and the Sharks have six-again but Colin Best loses the ball on the zero tackle.
27 min: Paul Gallen is back on the field for the Sharks as he forces an error from James Segeyaro.
31 min: INJURY- Tariq Sims is taken off the field on the medi-cab after suffering a terrible ankle injury. He looks in agonising pain as gruesome replays show his ankle bend under the tackler.
32 min: TRY
Segeyaro gives a short ball to Jason Taumalolo who barges his way through the defence for his first try in first grade.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 8-6
33 min: INJURY UPDATE- Tariq Sims has a suspected broken left ankle. Tragic news for the rookie who was a bolter for the Australian Four Nations squad.
35 min: The Sharks penalised for not playing the ball correctly and the Cowboys have a tap 30m out from the Sharks line.
38 min: TRY
Stuart Mills breaks through soft defence but is tackled by Matt Bowen in cover. The Sharks shift the ball left and Issac Gordon puts Wade Graham into a hole for him to streak away and score.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 14-6
40 min: Half Time: The Sharks lead the Cowboys 14-6 at half time. It's been a spirited performance from the Sharks, while the Cowboys have been very disappointing. A talking point from the first half is the brutal injury to rookie backrower Tariq Sims, who has a suspected broken ankle.
41 min: Back under-way as the Cowboys work the ball out of their half.
42 min: Segeyaro puts a good shot on Josh Cordoba who loses the ball and the Cowboys have a scrum 30m from the Sharks line.
43 min: TRY
The Cowboys get the perfect start to the second half as Ray Thompson finds Glenn Hall with a line-ball and Hall steps past Gallen to dive over.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 14-12
45 min: The Sharks give away a penalty for a strip on Taumalolo. The Cowboys with a chance to go back-to-back as they start their set on halfway.
49 min: Dropout Cowboys. Ash Graham takes an Albert Kelly bomb but is driven into the in-goal.
49 min: INJURY- Dallas Johnson is brutally knocked out by the knee of Kade Snowden as he tries to make the tackle.
53 min: Dropout Sharks. Thurston kicks into the in-goal and Mills is forced to kick it dead.
55 min: The Cowboys get a repeat set after the Sharks knock the ball down but then Thurston loses the ball on the 3rd tackle. Cronulla with a tap on their 10m line.
58 min: Great defence from the Sharks as they hold out the Cowboys on their line. They now have the ball on their 40m line.
60 min: Jeremy Smith penalised for shoulder charging Ray Thompson after he'd kicked the ball. The Cowboys with a great opportunity on the Sharks line.
61 min: TRY Northern Storm
Brilliant try to Ashley Graham. The Cowboys shift the ball right and Graham acrobatically leaps outside the field of play as he places the ball over the tryline. Thurston hits the upright with the conversion and remains on 999 points in the NRL.
North Queensland Cowboys 16-14
64 min: Bowen kicks the ball out on the full as he looks for a 40/20 and the Sharks have a chance to hit back with a scrum on the Cowboys 40m line.
64 min: TRY
Tupou sends Albert Kelly away with an offload and he links with Paul Aiton who scores for the Sharks.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20-16
70 min: Bowen puts in a chip kick and Isaac Gordon knocks it on as he tries to collect it. The Cowboys have a scrum 20m from the Sharks line.
71 min: TRY
Big Jason Taumalolo gets a double! The hulking youngster charges at the line and spins out of the defence to slam the ball down. Thurston converts from in-front to bring up his 1000th career point in the NRL.
North Queensland Cowboys 22-20
76 min: John Morris knocks on from dummy-half as the Sharks work the ball out of their half. The Cowboys have a scrum-feed on halfway.
79 min: Colin Best puts in a chip and the Cowboys have the ball. If they can hold on for this set, they should win.
80 min: TRY
Matty Bowen goes to the line on the last play of the game and grubbers through for himself to score. Brilliant pick-up from Bowen and the Cowboys win!
North Queensland Cowboys 28-20
80 min: The North Queensland Cowboys have overcome an 8-point deficit at half-time to defeat the Cronulla Sharks 28-20 at Dairy Farmers Stadium.