Matt Scott

As that old saying goes, ‘cometh the man, cometh the hour.’ When you need your best player to step up and deliver a match-winning play, you just know that Johnathan Thurston is the man to deliver.

He did not disappoint, as the North Queensland Cowboys co-captain shrugged for a corked hip from the tackle before, set himself, got into position and slotted the winning field goal.

It was billed as the match of the round and it lived up to those expectations. In recent years, the Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos have produced many spectacles.

It was not all smooth sailing for the Cowboys early, though, as costly errors by potential QLD Origin winger Kyle Feldt gave the Broncos several chances to score.

On the back of two of Feldt’s errors, QLD Origin representative Matt Gillett scored a double and the Broncos went into the break with a handy buffer.

But as the game wore on, the Cowboys fought their way back into the contest. The Broncos task was made more difficult when Corey Oates (dizzy spells) and Jack Reed (concussion) did not return for the second half.

It resulted in a make-shift right-side attack, with Alex Glenn at centre and Kodi Nikorima on the wing.

The match may not have gone to the climax that it did, had the player of the competition so far in Anthony Milford held onto the ball at a crucial moment.

He dropped the ball and on the ensuing Cowboys set, Lachlan Coote scored a try off his own kick to catapult the Cowboys forward.

Then, after several attempts to score, Thurston stepped up and calmly slotted the winning field goal. It caps off some remarkable games between the two sides, with the last three contests decided by a margin of two points or less.

Despite those errors made by Feldt, he had support from his coach, Paul Green.

“That [first half] wasn’t ‘Feldty’, he’s one of the safest in our team,” said Green.

“But sometimes that can happen and you let the little voices in your head dominate what’s going on there. You’ve just got to clear your mind and get back to what your job is. His hands are one of his strengths as a player.

“You say ‘don’t think about it’, but sometimes that’s the worst thing you can say because it puts it right in their head.

“It’s a good learning curve for him.”

Despite copping that heavy knock, Thurston downplayed any suggestion that he would miss Origin.

“I have got a bit of a cork there, so I should be fine,” Thurston said.

“Moose (McGuire) got me good there.

“It hurt, but it won’t keep me out.”

Player of the Game:

3. Matt Scott
2. Matt Gillett
1. Johnathan Thurston

North Queensland Cowboys 19 (Matt Scott, Lachlan Coote, Justin O’Neill tries; Johnathan Thurston 3 goals; Thurston field goal) defeated Brisbane Broncos 18 (Matt Gillett 2, Jordan Kahu tries; Jordan Kahu 3 goals) at 1300SMILES Stadium. Half-time: Broncos 12-6. Crowd: 25,163. Holden Cup: Cowboys 38-18.

By ricky

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