Champions: North Queensland celebrate their first premiership. Picture: NRL老域名出售.RUGBY LEAGUE
It will go down as one of the greatest grand finals of all time.
The North Queensland Cowboys claimed the first premiership in the club’s history with an epic 17-16 victory over the Brisbane Broncos.
Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston won the game with a field goal after they took the game to golden point extra time thanks to a Kyle Feldt try after the full-time siren that levelled the score at 16-all.
Thurston had the chance to win the game with a conversion from the sideline but hit the post.
Brisbane had led 16-12early in the second half and looked like they would win their seventh premiership with a minute to go.
But Broncos halfback Ben Hunt was penalised for a lifting tackle on Cowboys centre Kane Linnett that allowed the Cowboys to march downfield and, on the final play of the 80 minutes, for Michael Morgan to take the biggest gamble of his young career.
One to remember: Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt scores in the corner on the stroke of full-time. Picture: NRL老域名出售.
The five-eighth ran into a three on three situation 20 metres out from Brisbane’s line with only seconds remaining, on what he knew would be the last play of the game.
Morgan dummied and poked his nose through the line before finding Feldt with a one-handed flick pass for the winger to score in the right-hand corner just as the clock struck 80 minutes.
Thurston, who was named the NRL player of the year season earlier in the week when he was awarded his fourth Dally M medal, then had the chance to win the game with a kick from the sideline.
It was every rugby league player’s dream, the chance to win their team a grand final with a kick from the touchline after the siren.
Thurston’s kick looked good all the way. The champion halfback even had an arm in the air in celebration.
But the ball crashed into the right-hand upright to send the game to golden point.
Legend: Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston celebrates. Picture: NRL老域名出售.
There was then to be more heartbreak for Hunt as he dropped North Queensland’s kick-off to restart the game in extra time.
The Cowboys took their time and after two aborted attempts at field goal, it was third time lucky for Thurston.
Earlier, Brisbane had opened the scoring through a Corey Parker penalty goal before Corey Oates scored the opening try.
Brisbane took a 14-12 lead to the break and Jordan Kahu extended itto 16-12 with another penalty goal early in the second half.
First try: Brisbane celebrate Corey Oates’ opening try. Picture: NRL老域名出售.
For the neutral it was a spectacle every bit worthy of a season’s showpiece game.
It was fast, furious and full of quality.
There was not a hint of wrestling or the myriad of negative tactics that have blighted some grand finals of the recent past.
And the finish was some way to mark a historic grand final – the first to be played by two Queensland teams and the first to be settled by golden point extra time.
In the early games, Penrith claimed the Holden Cup under-20s grand final with a 34-18 win over Manly while the Ipswich Jets won the State Championship match 26-12 over Newcastle.
North Queensland Cowboys 17 (Justin O’Neill, James Tamou, Kyle Feldt tries. Johnathan Thurston two goals. Thurston field goal)
Brisbane Broncos 16 (Corey Oates, Jack Reed tries. Corey Parker, Jordan Kahu goals)
In golden point extra time
At ANZ Stadium
Crowd: 82, 758.
Clive Churchill Medallist: Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland)
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