Cowboys great escape against Manly

It was a win Steve McQueen would have been proud of.

The North Queensland Cowboys engineered a great escape against Manly in Townsville on Saturday night, stealing an 18-14 victory at the death.

The Cowboys extended their winning streak to nine but not before surviving a major scare in an error-riddled performance.

Gavin Cooper sealed the match just a minute from time, sparing the Cowboys blushes after coughing the ball up 16 times.

Matt Scott was Herculean for North Queensland, backing up from Origin to score the first double of his 193-game career.

The Cowboys suffered an early scare when Queensland debutante Michael Morgan limped off during warm up after twisting his ankle but the in-form half took his place in the side.

The Origin stars combined early with a Johnathan Thurston bomb drawing an error from boom rookie Tom Trbojevic and setting up a try to Scott in the third minute.

The Cowboys looked destined to extend their lead time and again but seven errors kept them at six points for the half despite dominating field position.

That allowed Manly the chance to graft their way into the match, with winger Jorge Taufua bagging a first half double to hand the visitors an 8-6 halftime lead.

It could have been more, had Morgan not done a superb job of mowing down a flying Trbojevic and punching the ball from his hands as he attempted to ground the ball.

The Cowboys cause was not helped when winger Antonio Winterstein was ruled out of the match when his head caught the shoulder of Peter Hiku in the 46th minute.

But Scott stole the lead back when he cut back inside to grab his first ever double.

Manly quickly grabbed it back, though, with 18-year-old Trbojevic latched onto a Jamie Lyon kick to muscle past Kane Linnett in the 62nd minute.

Then Cooper had the vocal home crowd on their feet with his match wining try.

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