The North Queensland Cowboys have overturned an 18-point deficit to defeat the Canberra Raiders 26-24 at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
The game started relatively evenly but it was the Raiders who were able to cross first when the Cowboys outside defence was caught short after Canberra swung the play from the right back over to the left and gave Jordan Rapana space on the outside. Jarrod Croker's conversion from out wide gave the Raiders a 6-0 lead.
Just a matter of minutes later, the Cowboys hit back through Kyle Feldt after he was able to get space on the outside of the Raiders defence before stepping back inside to see the Cowboys score. Valentine Holmes' conversion success rate continued to improve with a sideline conversion from outwide.
The game might have been even on the stats but the scoreboard would tell a different story as the Canberra Raiders would score three tries in quick succession. The second of the Raiders tries came through Emre Guler who ran a good line through the middle of the park after there was a gaping hole for him to run through after Josh Papali'i was able to force an offload away and Tom Starling found Guler who scored.
The Cowboys defence had already been caught out once and they were caught out again when Jordan Rapana was able to score after the Cowboys right-side defence was caught struggling to man up and the Raiders had a 4-on-2 overlap which they used to success and Rapana scored.
Poor defence in the centre of the park was what cost the Raiders when hooker Tom Starling charged through the middle of the park and found George Williams who coasted away for an easy try. Jarrod Croker added his fourth successful conversion and Canberra lead 24-6.
On the stroke of half-time, the Cowboys put some balance back into the scoreboard when Ben Condon was able to chase through a Scott Drinkwater kick to score. Valentine Holmes' conversion pushed the margin back to 12 points.
The Second half has been a problem area for the Raiders over the past few weeks and they were hoping to fix the issues of recent weeks. Things though didn't work out that way for the Raiders as North Queensland started to dominate early on.
The home-side crossed just four minutes into the second half when Reece Robson darted from dummy half and was able to get his way down low to score. The conversion from Valentine Holmes pushed the margin back to just six points.
Canberra Raiders fans would be left frustrated by the Cowboys equaliser when Justin O'Neill chased through a Scott Drinkwater kick to scores. It was a well worked try by the Cowboys but replays suggested that O'Neill may have been offside on the kick chase with the Bunker electing not to step in and overturn the decision.
The Raiders were able to get momentum but despite that a late tackle on Ben Hampton sealed the defeat for Canberra. The decision to take the penalty goal from the Cowboys was the decisive moves as Valentine Holmes slotted the conversion to give the Cowboys the lead for the first time.
A string of penalties to the Raiders gave them good field position but they couldn't work the plays to pull off the match-winning play including a poor pass over the sideline that sealed their fate.
Next weekend, the Cowboys head to Gosford to take on the Warriors meanwhile the Raiders return home with another tough assignment coming up against South Sydney next Thursday night.