NRL Grand Final: Brisbane Broncos 16-17 North Queensland

By Matt NewsumBBC Sport
Johnathan Thurston
Johnathan Thurston ended North Queensland's wait for a Premiership with his drop goal
Brisbane Broncos (14) 16
Tries: Oates, Reed Goals: Parker 2, Kahu 2
North Queensland Cowboys (12) 17 (Golden point)
Tries: O'Neill, Tamou, Feldt Goals: Thurston 2 Drop goal: Thurston

Johnathan Thurston kicked a golden point for North Queensland Cowboys as they won a first NRL Premiership title with victory over Brisbane Broncos.

Broncos were 16-12 up with the hooter sounding in normal time, but a Kyle Feldt try gave Thurston his first chance to win the match.

He missed the conversion but drilled over a drop-goal in added time.

Jack Reed had earlier crossed for the Broncos, only the fourth Englishman to achieve the feat.

Thurston, part of the Cowboys team beaten by Wests Tigers in the 2005 final, was named man of the match.

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett, meanwhile, was unable to win an eighth Premiership on his return to his 'home' club.

This first meeting of two Queensland clubs in a Grand Final had everything - drama, excitement and open football.

Jack Reed
England international Jack Reed made his Broncos debut in 2011

From the moment Corey Parker nailed a penalty goal from 40 metres out to put Broncos ahead in the early stages, the pace never relented and nor did the quality.

On receiving the ball from the restart, Brisbane worked a glorious opening on the left through Anthony Milford and Reed to release Corey Oates for an 80-metre score.

The lead lasted did not last long as Parker knocked on and Cowboys took advantage when Jake Granville peeled away from the base of the scrum, picked a gap and fed Justin O'Neill on the inside to score.

Cowboys took advantage of repeat sets to force field position and after Scott Bolton was halted short of the line, Granville fed James Tamou to spin his way over by the left upright.

Reed ensured Brisbane would go in ahead at the break when he crossed on the back of a terrific break by Matt Gillett, and Jordan Kahu popped over a two-pointer after half-time to extend the lead further.

Paul Green's Cowboys continued to press, and Lachlan Coote crossed but referee Gerard Sutton deemed a double movement after the tackle by Matt Gillett.

English tryscorers in Grand Finals
Dick Huddart for St George (1966)
Phil Lowe for Manly (1976)
George Burgess for Souths (2014)
Jack Reed for Brisbane (2015)

It looked as though the game was over with seconds to play but Feldt's finish brought parity and wild scenes in the ANZ Stadium, although Thurston's subsequent conversion attempt struck the frame of the goal.

On the restart, Broncos half-back Ben Hunt knocked on in front of his own sticks and, despite some desperate defence, the ball was flicked to Thurston to drive home the winning kick.

Brisbane Broncos: Boyd; Oates, Reed, Hodges, Kahu; Milford, Hunt; Thaiday, McCullough, Blair, Glenn, Gillett, Parker.

Interchanges: Wallace, Dodds, Ofahengaue, Nikorima.

North Queensland Cowboys: Coote; Feldt, O'Neill, Linnett, Winterstein; Morgan, Thurston; Scott, Granville, Tamou, Cooper, Lowe, Taumalolo

Interchanges: Kostjasyn, Asiata, Bolton, Hannant.

Attendance: 82,758

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