Cowboys rally to beat Tigers
North Queensland's chances of playing finals football are alive after three tries in the final 12 minutes of the game stunned the Wests Tigers 22-14 at Campbelltown Stadium.
The Cowboys came into the clash needing a victory to all but secure a finals berth but were left to work hard for it against a Wests Tigers side who led for all but the backend of the game.
Neither side could get into a groove early in the contest with a series of errors in slippery conditions causing problems in attack until the backend of both halves provided the points.
Wests Tigers were the beneficiaries on the scoreboard early to lead by four at the half-time break through a simple approach of hard and straight running.
Paul Green's side improved and had their chances in the second half but found themselves further in trouble with another try against them despite a heavy weight of possession in their favour.
A simple backline movement sent Tigers winger Malakai Watene-Zelezniak over in the corner to stretch the lead out to eight, but that proved the turning point in the contest as the Cowboys sparked a late charge in momentum.
North Queensland used a scrum advantage to spread the ball wide for Kyle Feldt to go over in the corner, before the Cowboys went 100 metres after points with Feldt never giving up on a Morgan grubber to pounce on the ball under the posts and earn a double.
Leading by two, the game was secured for the visitors when a banana kick from Cowboys hooker Jake Granville proved pin-point for Morgan to regather and score.
Earlier, the Cowboys' injury woes continued after a fortnight of hard luck with Granville leaving the field in the 16th minute, but in a positive for the visitors returned before the break.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 24th minute when a simple charge from skipper Aaron Woods, who threw a dummy to get past Jason Taumalolo and charge over the line.
North Queensland could ill-afford to chase further points and Te Maire Martin was the dangerous half to spark something for the Cowboys.
The former Panther weaved through Matt McIlwrick and Esan Marsters on the left-edge to level the scores at 6-6.
Ivan Cleary's men were using the conditions to their advantage however with some hard-running proving too much for the visitors to handle.
It was proving tit-for-tat to finish the half and the Tigers struck five minutes before the break through a regular charge from Aloiai proving too strong for the Cowboys defensive line.
The second half started in a similar fashion with both sides trying to sort each other out until the class of the Cowboys' big game players came into play when it mattered.
North Queensland Cowboys 22 (Feldt 2, Martin, Morgan tries; Lowe 3 goals) defeated Wests Tigers 14 (Woods, Aloiai, Watene-Zelezniak tries; Lolohea 1 goal) at Campbelltown Stadium. Half-time: Wests Tigers 10-6. Crowd: 9346.
NRL.com unofficial votes: 3 points: Michael Morgan. 2 points: Jake Granville. 1 point: Aaron Woods.