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Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston.

Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott's return for the Cowboys has been delayed by a blackout at Barlow Park.

With a packed house and the threat of a storm out over the horizon, the conditions seemed perfect for the Cairns locals to feast on Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott's return to the footy field as North Queensland took on the Wests Tigers. 

The revised kick-off time was 8.10pm, with Thurston and Scott to finally take the field after long injury layoffs 40 minutes later than expected.

Halfway through the national anthem, with the players rearing to go in the tunnel, silence struck as the lights went out.

A lightning strike from a storm barely visible form Barlow Park plunged all of Cairns and Innisfail into complete darkness.

The players took the field in the dark and waited for the issue to be resolved before they could taste the reward of all their pre-season work.