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24 Feb 2018 14:42
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    It's a Cowboys v Storm NRL grand final

    North Queensland have continued their fairytale finals run with a shock 29-16 victory over the Sydney Roosters to set up a 2017 NRL grand final with Melbourne.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    North Queensland are 80 minutes away from an historic NRL premiership after advancing to the grand final with a 29-16 preliminary final upset of the Sydney Roosters.

    The Cowboys will meet Melbourne at ANZ Stadium next Sunday in a David-versus-Goliath showdown.

    Paul Green's men are the first team to make the decider from eighth since Parramatta in 2009, while no team has lifted the trophy from outside the top four in the NRL era.

    Against minor premiers the Storm, who haven't lost a game in nine weeks, they can now create history for the second time in three years.

    Twice, the Cowboys were forced to come from behind on Saturday night.

    Star halfback Michael Morgan, who had a hand in three tries, came up with the clutch plays to lead the sentimental favourites into their second decider in three years.

    The Cowboys were down 14-12 with 20 minutes to go at Allianz Stadium when Morgan fired a cut-out pass for Kane Linnett to regain advantage.

    A Justin O'Neill error allowed Roosters winger Blake Ferguson to snatch back the lead, only for Kyle Feldt to touch down just millimetres inside the corner post in the 66th minute.

    An Ethan Lowe penalty goal made it a six point buffer soon after, before Morgan ensured victory with a 77th-minute field goal.

    In front of a crowd of 28,108, Cowboys prop Scott Bolton put an exclamation point on the win with a try in the final minute.

    The first half was an arm wrestle before the contest turned on an Isaac Liu error, which resulted in a Lowe penalty and a Te Maire Martin 35-metre try in the space of 10 minutes.

    The Roosters hit back when Mitchell took a Keary kick to cut the lead to two at halftime, and they took the lead on a Connor Watson try after the break.

    But from there it was all Cowboys, who were without co-captain Matt Scott despite his inclusion in a 21-man squad for the first time since undergoing a knee reconstruction in March.

    Cowboys coach Paul Green said the players deserved credit for getting to this position.

    "They've continued to work hard and tried to get better as a team. There was a period there where we weren't getting it right," he said.

    "They stuck to their guns and I kept telling them eventually our luck will turn and you just need to be ready to take those opportunities when it does turn.

    "If we had have rolled over when things were going against us, we definitely wouldn't have been in this position."

    Roosters coach Trent Robinson admitted his team were simply outplayed.

    "It was devastating to lose that game. To get into a grand final is a pretty big prize and we weren't good enough," he said.

    "If you're going to have those errors we had you better be defending well.

    "Periods of the game we both had tit for tat and it was a good arm wrestle there. The areas we conceded we didn't defend well enough, especially in the second half."

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity


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