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It was yet another make-or-break match for the Cowboys when these two sides met just two weeks ago in Round 25 at Remondis Stadium – and North Queensland, led by Matt Bowen, kept their finals flame flickering with a determined 31-18 defeat of the Todd Carney-less Sharks.

It was 12-all at half-time in the fifth-against-eighth clash before a ‘ripe’ ‘Mango’ produced a few brilliant plays. Bowen ran for 127 metres, made three tackle-breaks, created two line-breaks, broke the line once himself, set up three tries and scored a four-pointer in a man-of-the-match display that ultimately proved the difference.

North Queensland’s forwards James Tamou (186 metres), Gavin Cooper (159 metres), Joel Riethmuller (167 metres) and Scott Bolton (149 metres) laid a firm foundation for Bowen to take advantage.

For the Sharks, Andrew Fifita (161 metres, four tackle-breaks and 39 tackles), Jeff Robson (two try assists, four tackle-breaks, 18 tackles, a line-break and a try) and Jayson Bukuya (two tries) were their strongest performers in a side missing key playmaker Carney, who injured his hamstring in the lead-up to the clash.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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