Match Summary A 90-metre try to centre Ashley Graham and an inspirational display from fullback Matty Bowen have steered the North Queensland Cowboys to a 34-18 win over the Newcastle Knights at Energy Australia Stadium tonight.
With the Knights leading 18-16 and on the ascendancy, an upset appeared to be on the cards as the home side looked keen to break a six match losing streak. But the turning point of the match emerged when Graham scooped up an intercept in the 55th minute to post his second try and put the Cowboys back in front.
Man-of-the-match honours went to Matt Bowen, the Cowboys fullback putting together a tremendous game before being rewarded with a runaway try in the 74th minute.
The Knights were first to score when winger Cooper Vanu crashed over the top of Cowboys centre Paul Bowman after just eight minutes of play.
But the Cowboys struck back with halfback Johnathan Thurston backing up Bowen in the 19th minute.
The Cowboys ran in two more tries to post a handy 16-6 lead at the break.
The Knights, however, put together a spirited performance to score two tries in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, the home side taking an 18-16 lead and looking ready to go on with it.
But the Graham intercept turned the momentum around and the Cowboys were able to go up a gear to post a well deserved win, cementing themselves a top four spot and a home final in two weeks time.
Match Details Round 24 - Full Time :: August 24th, 2007 07:30 PM Venue: Energy Australia Stadium Referee: Jared Maxwell Half time: Cowboys 16-6
Newcastle Knights 18 Tries: Cooper Vuna, Chris Bailey, Cory Paterson Goals: Kurt Gidley (3/3) North Queensland Cowboys 34 Tries: Johnathan Thurston, Ashley Graham (2), Ty Williams, Neil Sweeney, Matthew Bowen Goals: Johnathan Thurston (5/6)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary The Knights coming off six straight losses against a resurgent Cowboys outfit. Knights: Steve Simpson ruled out. Cory Paterson in. Cowboys: As per the card. Cowboys kick off and we're underway...
8 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Winger Cooper Vanu takes the ball from a drop out and smashes through an attempted tackle from Paul Bowman, running through the centres to score 15m wide of the posts. Conversion attempt by fullback Kurt Gidley successful. Newcastle Knights 6-0
11 min: NO TRY. Cowboys winger Ty Williams denied in the corner after the ref rules a forward pass against the visitors.
19 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Halfback Johnathan Thurston scores after fullback Matty Bowen busts them open on his own side of half and then steps and weaves his way downfield before offloading to Thurston who scores under the posts. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. 6 all
21 min: 40/20 kicked by Thurston. Cowboys now on the attack.
22 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Centre Ashley Graham takes a pass from Thurston and crashes over in the corner. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston brushes the upright and is unsuccessful. North Queensland Cowboys 10-6
30 min: Still 10-6 in favour of the Cowboys. A close tussle.
33 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Williams scores in the corner following a simple backline movement set up by Thurston and Bowen. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston is a ripper. North Queensland Cowboys 16-6
39 min: Cowboys launching another raid on the right side before the ball is knocked down by a Knights defender.
Half time: Cowboys 16-6 Cowboys enjoying 57% possession - Bowen and Thurston combining well and look to be on their game. Knights trying hard and not out of this.
Second half underway...
42 min: Knights come within a whisker of scoring as Brad Tighe knocks-on while trying to regather a kick through.
47 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Five eighth Chris Bailey crashes over from close range, set up by Gidley. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful from almost in front. North Queensland Cowboys 16-12
55 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Ashley Graham scoops up an intercept and runs 90m to score under the posts. Very much against the run of play. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. North Queensland Cowboys 22-18
64 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Winger Neil Sweeney scores out wide as the Cowboys run a backline movement on the last tackle. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. North Queensland Cowboys 28-18
68 min: NO TRY. Cowboys denied after Graham picks up a loose ball and runs 52m to touch down under the posts. Video Ref rules knock-on against the Cowboys' Jason Smith in the lead up.
73 min: Knights forward Mitchell Sargent off to the blood bin after copping a cut to the head.
74 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Matty Bowen makes a break and runs over 80m to score under the posts. Great turn of speed. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. North Queensland Cowboys 34-18
77 min: 40/20 kick from Jason Smith. Cowboys on the attack.
79 min: NO TRY. Cowboys denied. Video ref rules obstruction against the Cowboys after Carl Webb runs cross-field to breaks through to touch down.
Full time: Cowboys win 34-18