In yet another heart-stopping, pulsating clash between the two sides, the North Queensland Cowboys emerged victorious in golden point with a gripping 21-20 win over the Brisbane Broncos.
Something about golden point hovers over the arena every time these two teams play each other and this contest was no different as the scores see-sawed and teetered their way to 20-all after regulation time.
The catalyst behind getting into such a position was the reigning Dally M Medal winner, Jason Taumalolo. Then, the man regarded as the best player in rugby league did the rest as Johnathan Thurston slotted a field goal with a couple of minutes left on the clock.
There are a few sour notes for the Cowboys, though, with Taumalolo facing a possible suspension for a shoulder charge, Antonio Winterstein suffering a broken forearm and a potentially season-ending knee injury for influential prop Matt Scott.
The battle and rivalry between these two sides waged on as threw everything they had at each other in a back and forth contest.
Brisbane started the stronger of the two sides led by a resurgence from half Ben Hunt, who has been under immense scrutiny amid his move to the St George Illawarra Dragons.
He stepped it up, though, laying off two deft kicks for tries before kicking a 40/20. In typical Cowboys fashion, however, their resolve came to the fore.
Coen Hess and Michael Morgan both went on to score for the Cowboys and as they say, the rest is history.
Not everyone was happy, though, with Broncos coach Wayne Bennett lambasting the golden point concept that he has been against since its inception.
“We certainly matched it with them and that’s the tragedy of golden point,” Bennett said.
“We deserved a point here tonight. We don’t deserve to come away from here with nothing.
“I’ve been against the concept since day one. I hate seeing someone lose when they’ve given so much. It’s unfair. ”
A polarising subject, Thurston offered his own thoughts on the issue.
“Well if there is a draw after 80 minutes I’d like to see both teams receive a point, and then after that, if you go to golden point I think the winner of that should receive an extra point,” Thurston said.
“I don’t think it’s fair that a team can lose in extra-time and get nothing.
“A team that gets flogged by 40 gets nothing so it isn’t fair for those two results to be deemed equal.”
The big concern will be Matt Scott but Cowboys coach Paul Green says he knows little about the severity at present.
“The win has come at a cost. Until we have the scans we won’t be able to confirm that but he’s definitely got a knee issue,” Green said of Scott’s injury.
As for their performance, Green praised the efforts of his players in testing situations.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a tougher win than what was out there tonight. I was so proud of the boys just for the effort that they showed for each other.
“You don’t have a performance like that if you don’t care about your teammates, and care about the jersey.
“There were so many exhausted bodies out there, guys playing out of position but they just kept turning up for each other.”
Player of the Game:
3. Jason Taumalolo
2. Coen Hess
- Anthony Milford
North Queensland Cowboys 21 (Coen Hess, Michael Morgan, Jake Granville tries; Johnathan Thurston 4 goals, field goal) def. Brisbane Broncos 20 (James Roberts, Darius Boyd, Jordan Kahu tries; Anthony Milford 4 goals) after eight minutes of extra time at Suncorp Stadium. Crowd: 47,703. Half-time: Broncos 14-12. Holden Cup: Cowboys 20-18.