Cowboys dash Sharks' finals hopes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys dash Sharks' finals hopes

04/09/2004 10:23:04 PM Comments (0)

The North Queensland Cowboys have dashed Cronulla's finals hopes with an emphatic victory at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

In a performance that is bound to lift the Cowboys ahead of their first appearance in the NRL finals, the home team won the match 36-20.

Some late razzle dazzle from the electrifying Matthew Bowen sealed the win after the Sharks had a chance to take the game, leading 10-8 at halftime and levelling at 20-all with 18 minutes remaining.

But as it turned out, a Sharks win would have not been enough to see them finish in eighth spot.

As the game in Townsville was winding down, word came through that the Canberra Raiders had posted a massive win over Souths meaning the Sharks would have had to rack up a cricket score in beating the Cowboys to advance on for and against points percentage.

But all that was academic as tries to hooker Aaron Payne, fullback Bowen and centre Josh Hannay capped off what has been a watershed year for the Northern Queensland club.

Celebrating their 10th season in the top-flight competition, the Cowboys have finished the regular season in seventh place with 12 wins, 11 losses and a draw, easily their best season and coming after they had collected the wooden spoon three times.

After the game Cowboys coach Graham Murray praised his charges and said they deserved the credit they were now finally getting.

But the week ahead will not be without its headaches as Murray has some difficult selection decisions to make.

Tonight's game saw the return of key players Kevin Campion (torn bicep), Glenn Morrison (back) and Matt Sing (broken jaw) from lengthy spells on the sideline while captain Travis Norton and backrower Luke O'Donnell were rested with niggling injuries.

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