The NYC Cowboys turned in their best performance of the 2012 Toyota Cup season to secure a 28-all draw with the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium tonight.
Down by 10 points at half time, the Cowboys twice hit the lead in the second half before having to settle for their second draw against much higher placed opposition in eight days.
While they may have beaten the Gold Coast Titans at Dairy Farmers Stadium in round one, their round 10 effort was far superior both in execution and determination and proved the young Cowboys are starting to come together after a slow start to the year.
Second-rower Chris Grevsmuhl crossed twice on the left edge in the second half and fullback Wayne Ulugia scored in both halves as the Cowboys scored five tries against the fifth-placed Knights.
North Queensland played perhaps their best football of the season in the first 25 minutes and were unlucky to only come up with one try – to Ulugia after Tennyson Elliott strode into a gap and found Javid Bowen on his outside.
Bowen could have had a try of his own not long after but lost control of the ball over the line after a clever blindside play.
The Knights battled their way back into the contest and made the most of a couple of Cowboys errors, and some poor discipline, to snare three tries in the final 15 minutes of the half, including one to front-rower Korbin Sims, the youngest of the Sims brothers.
Grevsmuhl’s first try just after the restart showed the Cowboys weren’t about to give this game up easily and when Elliott ran on to a Luke Abdul-Rahman short ball to score, they grabbed a two-point lead with half an hour remaining.
Fullback Kurt Mann put the Knights back in front before Grevsmuhl’s second, following a break downfield by Zac Santo, and the second leg of Ulugia’s double saw the visitors claim a six-point lead.
They held on until six minutes before fulltime when Chanel Mata'utia rumbled over shortly after a costly NQ error in their own 20-metre zone.
Lachlan Shipard’s conversion from near touch brought the Knights level and although both sides had their chances to break the deadlock, neither had the composure needed with the game on the line to secure the win.