Sharks upset Cowboys with comeback win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks upset Cowboys with comeback win

By Adrian Proszenko 22/04/2006 09:28:17 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla has staged a remarkable second half comeback to produce one of the upsets of the NRL season, a thrilling 24-22 victory over North Queensland at Toyota Park.

Down 22-10 at halftime and with their season in the balance, Adam Dykes stepped up and made some crucial plays in the second half to hand the Cowboys their first loss of the season and raise hopes of a resurgence from the Shire club.

The Sharks, who came into the match with just one win - a two-point victory against struggling South Sydney - prior to the match, finished a week of turmoil on a high note with their best performance of the season.

It also eased the pressure on coach Stuart Raper, who was the victim of a vicious email campaign to oust him from the club.

The home side got off to a horror start, with five-eighth Brett Kearney throwing an intercept pass to Ashley Graham, who would have sprinted the length of the field but for a desperate covering tackle by Darren Albert.

With the Sharks line in disarray, Luke O'Donnell accepted a Matt Bowen ball and crashed over for the opening try in just the third minute.

But the underdogs hit back strongly, courtesy of two barnstorming tries in the space of five minutes.

Centre Phil Bailey scored the first, bursting through the tackles of Neil Sweeney, Johnathan Thurston and Paul Bowman, while Lance Thompson stepped past opposing second rower Steve Southern to give his side the lead.

The advantage was short-lived, with a piece of brilliance from Thurston and veteran winger Matt Sing levelling the scores at 10-all.

Dally M player of the year Thurston, sensing the Sharks were short on the right-hand flank, grubbered in behind the line, with Sing producing an athletic putdown to score his eighth try of the season.

The Cowboys regained the lead through two tries in five minutes just before the main break.

Impact player Rod Jensen strolled through some brittle defence in the 33rd minute to give the visitors the edge, before O'Donnell scored his second on the back of some good lead-up work from Thurston for a 22-10 halftime lead.

Dykes, taking over the captaincy and the No.7 jersey from injured playmaker Brett Kimmorley, sparked a Sharks revival, scoring a try and setting up one for Nigel Vagana to level the scores at 22-all midway through the second half.

A 65th minute penalty goal to Luke Covell proved the difference, with the Cowboys unable repeat their late-match heroics from last weekend against Newcastle.

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