BY CURTIS WOODWARD
The North Queensland Cowboys and Canberra Raiders are still alive in 2017 with victories on Friday Night Football.
Paul Green’s Cowboys left their run late scoring three tries in the final 12 minutes against WestsTigers at Campbelltown Stadium. It may have been local hero James Tedesco’s final game at the ground but it was the Cowboys who were laughing last with a crucial win.
The Cowboys are now on 30 competition points alongside Penrith with a game to play. They should play Finals football after another gutsy performance.
Both Wests Tigers and the Cowboys were guilty of soft defensive efforts on their own line in the first stanza with Aaron Woods opening the scoring for the home side in the 24th minute.
Former Wests Tigers playmaker Te Maire Martin slid over for the Cowboys minutes later before Josh Aloiai rampaged across the line on half-time for the Black and Orange.
Down on troops, North Queensland again showed their grit by hanging in the game until the last 12 minutes where they sealed the win with a double to Kyle Feldt and another to halfback Michael Morgan.
“It was a huge effort, we were down at half-time and the boys found a way to win. I’m really proud of them,” Cowboys Coach Green said at the press conference.
“We need to start better but it was a good effort. We played a bit tight and safety first but if we back ourselves the rest will flow off that.
“No-one deserves to make the finals, you have to work your butt off. There’s been plenty of reasons to turn it up but we haven’t. We are still in the fight, it’s good to see.”
While the Cowboys have their fate squarely in their hands, the Raiders are hoping both Manly-Warringah and St George Illawarra keep losing to have any hope of making the 8.
The Raiders were way too good for the 16th placed Knights at GIO Stadium.
— NRL (@NRL) August 25, 2017
A hat-trick to Kiwi winger Jordan Rapana and a personal haul of 22 points to captain Jarrod Croker was more than enough to send the Knights back to Newcastle with another loss.
Monster Raiders prop Junior Paulo set the platform for Canberra running for 144 metres which included two tackle busts and the opening try of the game in the 4th minute.
Canberra now has the unenviable task of travelling to Melbourne in Round 26 for a clash with the high-flying Storm.