Full Time
6:00pm Fri July 27, 2018
Round 20 - 1300SMILES Stadium - Crowd: 11709

Match Overview

A sloppy yet intriguing clash in Townsville has seen the North Queensland Cowboys somehow come away with a last gasp 20-18 win over Newcastle in an average contest by both sides.

The Knights were scintillating early in the first half, getting across the stripe for a try inside the opening three minutes when Fitzgibbon busted through on the right side after receiving a nice late pass from Cogger. He shaped to pass before stepping infield to beat Martin and score under the posts. Sio converted.

6 minutes later and the Knights were in again. Levi sent a stunning quick, short ball from dummy half to Guerra, who strolled through a feeble defensive effort, to score under the posts. Sio again converted.

The Cowboys got back into the game over the next ten minutes thanks to a flurry of penalties against the Knights which eventually saw Danny Levi sent to the sin bin. From the penalty the Cowboys scored. Thurston capitalised on the extra man with a nice run around before sending a long pass to O'Neill who scored in the left corner. Thurston converted from touch.

A few minutes later the Knights Ken Sio kicked a penalty goal to give the Knights a 14-6 lead.

Five minutes before halftime and that man Fitzgibbon scored a second try. He received the ball just past Thurston's outside shoulder and he ran in for an easy try. Sio was unable to convert and at halftime, the Knights lead 18-6.

Play was scrappy and ill-disciplined by both sides in the second half, with neither side being able to build any sustained pressure. 10 minutes after the break, Thurston sent a good ball to the lead runner Hess, who barged over for a good strong try. Thurston failed to convert from touch.

Just two minutes later the Cowboys were in again when O'Neill made a bust down the sideline before grubbering the ball back in field where Thurston cleaned up and fell over the line for a try. Thurston converted to reduce the Cowboys deficit to just 2 points.

The next 20 minutes was very poor by both sides, with neither looking a genuine chance of scoring points. Then with two minutes left in the game, Martin found space and sent a dubious pass to Gavin Cooper, who had had a horrible night, however he was able to run away and score the match winning try. Thurston failed to add the extras.

North Queensland are in Sydney next weekend where they'll take on top-four hopefuls the Roosters, while the Knights host Wests Tigers at home on Friday.

3. Johnathan Thurston

Thurston had a rough game but kept busting his backside all game and got his side home.

2. Lachlan Fitzgibbon

The Knights backrower found the gaps in the defensive line and hit them on regular occurrence.

1. John Asiata

Asiata had a clean pair of hands all game and made good metres through the middle, while showing his good passing game.