Source / nrl.com
A spectacular Warriors second-half comeback deserved a sensational end to Friday night's game with the Cowboys in Townsville - and it got one, with a 40-metre wonder goal that clinched a single point 29-28 win with seconds left on the clock. But it was North Queensland that celebrated the thrilling victory, leaving the Warriors bitterly disappointed.
"We got to the front and we weren't quite good enough to secure the victory which is disappointing," Warriors coach Nathan Brown said post-game.
Down 16 points at halftime, the Warriors scored some dazzling tries to fight their way back into the game and give themselves a late shot at victory.
But the turning point was the 30th-minute sin-binning of Warriors lock Jazz Tevaga, allowing the Cowboys to run in two unanswered tries.
"It helps if you've got 13 out there," a frustrated Brown said. "The game was decided by the sin-binning, and it was a fair sin-binning, but that's where the game was lost."
Even then the Warriors were far from done, Marcelo Montoya locking the game up at 22-all with 20 minutes remaining.
When prop Ben Murdoch-Masila crashed over the comeback was complete, the Warriors hitting the front 28-22 with a quarter of an hour left to play.
But inside the final five minutes, the Warriors luck began to run out and swing the way of the Cowboys, starting with wing Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow who fired up the afterburners to storm in from 40 metres to tie up the game 28-a-piece.
With a bit over a minute left, the Warriors had the winning of the game in their hands with their final set. But Warriors half Chanel Harris-Tavita's field goal attempt swung left of the upright.
"We've had two games where we've had a shot at a field goal and missed. You end up sad rather than happy, so something we need to get better at," said Brown.
"We didn't play the set well, as far as we didn't actually have people arriving at the ball at speed. But I'm quite happy we actually looked at scoring first, and then we're in a fine position to kick a field goal, we're 20 metres out. We just didn't nail it ."
The Cowboys' Valentine Holmes did nail it, however, when with time nearly up he let fly with a long-range field goal attempt that sailed sweetly between the posts.
"Val (Holmes) showed you why he gets paid a million bucks didn't he kicking one from 40 out and we had the same with (Daly) Cherry-Evans against Manly.
"We just didn't get it right tonight when it really mattered," said Brown. "(And), they got it right."
The full match replay is available on the nrl.com website.
Cowboys 29 (Kyle Feldt, Murray Taulagi, Jake Clifford, Scott Drinkwater, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow tries; Valentine Holmes 4 cons, field goal)
Warriors 28 (Euan Aitken 2, Reece Walsh, Marcelo Montoya, Ben Murdoch-Masila tries; Kodi Nikorima 4 cons)