NYC Qualifying Final v North Queensland Cowboys
The St George Illawarra Dragons defeated the North Queensland Cowboys 34-30 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Friday.
A try in golden point to winger Matheson Johns secured a dramatic come from behind win for the Young Dragons, booking them a place in the Preliminary Final in a fortnight’s time.
Head Coach Mat Head made a couple of changes prior to kick off, with Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards taking the place of winger Matheson Johns, who shifted back to the bench.
Meanwhile, prop Jacob Esau was elevated to the starting line-up in lieu of Matt Jurd, who started from the interchange.
The Cowboys opened the scoring after just 90 seconds, with fullback Kalyn Ponga putting Enari Tuala over in the corner untouched.
Ponga converted from the sideline for a 6-0 lead after three minutes.
The Dragons hit back shortly after through captain Patrick Herbert, who fended off two defenders before slamming the ball down despite three defenders hanging off him.
Five-eighth Jai Field converted from out wide to level the scores nine minutes in.
Centre Izaac Thompson gave the visitors their first lead of the game, coming down with a cross field kick from Jack Payne, grounding it to the right of the posts.
Field added the extras to give the Dragons a 12-6 lead after 17 minutes.
The Cowboys pegged the margin back six minutes later, shifting it out to the left to winger Marcus Jensen, who finished in the corner.
Once again Ponga converted from the touchline, leveling scores 12-12 with 15 minutes remaining in the half.
The home side took the lead again six minutes shy of the break when hooker Brandon Smith darted out of dummy half to score to the left of the upright.
Ponga converted to make it 18-12 heading into the sheds at half time.
Jensen scored his second try of the match just after the break, with centre Enari Tuala setting his outside man up with a lovely ball.
Ponga continued his perfect afternoon with the boot for a 24-12 lead six minutes into the half.
The Dragons hit back 90 seconds later though, with a break from Jai Field setting up a massive overlap on the right side, before hooker Reece Robson put Tuuta-Edwards over.
Field backed up his brilliant work, nailing the sideline conversion for a 24-18 score line with half an hour remaining.
Herbert pulled the margin back to two points three minutes later, dancing his way through the Cowboys line to score his second try of the game.
Field showed off his footwork and pace to score the Dragons third in 12 minutes, catching his opposite number wrong footed to go in untouched for a 26-24 lead with 17 minutes remaining.
The Cowboys went the length of the field three plays later to score through winger Nathan Traill to regain the lead.
Ponga converted to make it 30-26 with less than two minutes remaining.
With just 30 seconds remaining, Field sliced through the Cowboys line to score his second of the match to level scores and set up a shot at victory. His conversion attempt missed left sending the game to golden point extra time.
In extra time Luciano Leilua off loaded to Izaac Thompson who charged down field bumping off defenders. The Young Dragons shifted the ball right and Matheson Johns scored in the corner to secure the win and a week off.
St George Illawarra Dragons: 34 Tries: Patrick Herbert 2, Jai Field 2, Matheson Johns, Izaac Thompson, Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards Goals: Jai Field (3/6)
North Queensland Cowboys: 30 Tries: Marcus Jensen 2, Nathan Traill, Enari Tuala, Brandon Smith Goals: Kalyn Ponga (5/5)