We’re counting down our final season at our inaugural home ground – with just 11 regular season home games left at 1300SMILES Stadium, we take a look at the rivalry played out in North Queensland between the Toyota Cowboys and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
Meetings – 23
Head to head – Cowboys 11 wins, Sharks 12 wins
Biggest victories – Cowboys def. Sharks 56-14 in Rd 13, 2005; Sharks def. Cowboys 46-16 in Rd 15, 2002
First meeting - 1996 – Round 12: Cowboys 16 def. Sharks 10
The two sides first clashed in North Queensland mid-way through the Cowboys’ second season in the competition. Taking on a star-studded Sharks outfit ironically featuring current Cowboys head coach Paul Green as well as superstars David Peachey, Mat Rogers and Andrew Ettingshausen, North Queensland pulled off a shock upset. Fullback Reggie Cressbrook scored a try and kicked two goals, while winger David Bouveng and Damian Gibson also crossed for the Cowboys.
2015 – semi-final: Cowboys 39 def. Sharks nil
It’s a night etched in the memory of Cowboys and Sharks fans alike. In search of their maiden premiership, the Cowboys returned to 1300SMILES Stadium after being pipped 16-12 by the Broncos in the first week of the finals. Any suggestions of a straight-sets finals exit were quickly alleviated as the Cowboys crushed the Sharks in front of 22,000 fans to earn a trip to Melbourne for a preliminary final berth. Five-eighth Michael Morgan scored a double, while Scott Bolton, Kyle Feldt, Ethan Lowe, Justin O’Neill and Antonio Winterstein also crossed, while Johnathan Thurston added five goals and a field goal.
Last regular season game
2018 – Round 1: Cowboys 20 def. Sharks 14
Johnathan Thurston celebrated his 300th NRL game with a gritty season-opening victory over the Sharks. Gavin Cooper, Kyle Feldt, Coen Hess and Justin O’Neill scored tries, while Thurston experienced a rare off night with the boot, adding two goals from five attempts.
Both sides enter the Round 3 contest with a win and a loss through their first two games of the season. The Cowboys opened 2019 with a victory over the Dragons before falling to Brisbane in Round 2, while the Sharks were toppled by the Knights in Round 1, but rebounded to beat the Titans last weekend.