The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ winning march continued in brilliant and bizarre circumstances tonight with a dramatic come-from-behind victory against the Parramatta Eels at Pirtek Stadium.
Continuing to rewrite the record books with a 10th straight win, the Cowboys somehow clawed back a 30-6 deficit with a stunning five-try burst in a 10-minute period midway through the second half to snatch a 36-30 victory.
Four-pointers to winger Matthew Wright and centre Kane Linnett bookended a seven-minute Gavin Cooper hat-trick and then everything the Cowboys touched turned to gold following a poor opening 40 minutes.
The team now head into the first of their two allocated byes riding high and second on the NRL ladder and will be on 22 competition points at the end of round 14.
The Cowboys couldn’t have got off to a worse start when five-eighth Corey Norman sliced over in the third minute after a searching run from in-form centre Brad Takairangi, who found space down the Cowboys’ right defensive edge.
The game see-sawed for fifteen minutes before Takairangi scored one of his own and the Eels soon found themselves 12-0 up.
Michael Morgan clawed one back for the Cowboys but that was to be the only first-half joy as the Eels ran in two more tries to take a commanding 24-6 lead at the break.
When huge Eels winger Semi Radradra crossed for his second five minutes after the break, a 30-6 margin seemed a bridge too far as the Cowboys continued to leave defensive holes on their edges.
Somebody forgot to tell Cooper and Co. though and an incredible five tries in the space of 10 minutes meant the Cowboys had established their own six-point lead with 10 still on the clock.
Afterwards, co-captain Johnathan Thurston rated it the biggest comeback win of his career.
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys 36 (Gavin Cooper 3, Michael Morgan, Matthew Wright, Kane Linnett tries; Johnathan Thurston 6 goals) def Parramatta Eels 30 (Semi Radradra 2, Corey Norman, Brad Takairangi, Manu Ma’u tries ; Chris Sandow 3 goals 2 pen. goals) at Pirtek Stadium.