In a thrilling display of rugby league, the North Queensland Cowboys secured a crucial 27-23 victory over the Penrith Panthers in Townsville. The match provided excitement until the very last minute, with Scott Drinkwater scoring an 89th-minute try to seal the win for the Cowboys in golden point.
The game started with both teams displaying a strong sense of determination. However, it was the Panthers who struck first, taking an early lead. Despite this setback, the Cowboys fought back and managed to level the playing field. As the first half progressed, the Panthers showcased their attacking prowess and managed to secure a 20-12 lead heading into halftime.
The second half began with the Panthers extending their lead through a penalty goal, giving themselves a comfortable 10-point advantage. However, the Cowboys refused to back down and staged an impressive comeback. With just 15 minutes remaining, the Cowboys‘ Kulikefu Finefeuiaki and Kyle Feldt scored consecutive tries, leveling the scores once again.
As the game entered its final minutes, the tension was palpable. Cowboys‘ halfback Chad Townsend seemingly secured the win for his team with a 79th-minute field goal. However, the Panthers weren’t ready to give up. In a dramatic turn of events, Jack Cogger responded with a last-second field goal, sending the game into golden point.
The golden point period saw both teams pushing for victory. The Cowboys had an opportunity to secure the win with a penalty goal attempt from winger Kyle Feldt. Unfortunately, his kick went wide. However, Scott Drinkwater would not be denied. In a brilliant individual effort, he broke free from multiple Panthers defenders to score the match-winning try.
This victory marks a remarkable turnaround for the Cowboys, who showed resilience and determination to overcome a lackluster first-half performance. Their win against the Panthers adds to the momentum built from their convincing 45-20 victory over the Melbourne Storm.
Tom Dearden, who was released from Queensland’s State of Origin camp, was instrumental in the Cowboys‘ success. The five-eighth displayed exceptional skill, scoring one try and assisting in two others. His performance played a pivotal role in his team’s tenacious comeback.
While the Panthers ultimately fell short, they showcased their depth and talent, with several fill-in players delivering standout performances. Despite conceding the most points in a single game this season, the Panthers nearly managed to snatch victory from the Cowboys with their impressive cameos.
Both teams faced significant challenges due to injuries and State of Origin absences. The Cowboys were without key players such as Reece Robson, Murray Taulagi, Jeremiah Nanai, and Reuben Cotter. Meanwhile, the Panthers missed the services of Brian To’o, Jarome Luai, Isaiah Yeo, Liam Martin, and Nathan Cleary. Additionally, Moses Leota was absent as he celebrated the birth of his child.
With this hard-fought victory, the Cowboys now hold a 7-8 record for the season and find themselves in contention for a spot in the top eight. The win against the Panthers solidifies their position as genuine finals contenders.
This thrilling encounter between the Cowboys and Panthers serves as a testament to the excitement and unpredictability that rugby league can bring. Both teams showcased their determination and skill, providing fans with a memorable display of the sport’s finest qualities.