Never say die.
In a season punctuated by come-from-behind North Queensland wins, the Cowboys have credited their unfailing self-belief in finally delivering the NRL premiership to Townsville.
As the final seconds wound down in Sunday’s NRL decider at ANZ Stadium it looked as though Brisbane’s defence would win the day. That was before a clutch play from Michael Morgan produced a post-siren try to Kyle Feldt to tie up the scores at 16-all.
Johnathan Thurston’s conversion hit the post to send the game into extra-time, before the Clive Churchill medallist nailed a field goal from close range to claim a 17-16 win before 82,758 fans in one of the greatest grand finals in history.
The Cowboys made an art of running down teams from behind in 2015 and coach Paul Green said the grand final victory, in one of the most memorable deciders of all time, was again evidence of that.
“The way we won says a lot about how we have gone about things this year, that end was fitting, that fighting spirit, we know we are never out of a game and tonight was no different,” Green said.
“They have showed that fighting spirit all year.
“We have come from no matter what the score is, we have come from 30 points down this year and won games.
“It is a real credit to the team, I couldn’t be prouder of the way they hung in there.”
Corey Oates scored the game’s first try after finishing off a 95m effort, after Corey Parker had kicked a third minute penalty goal, for an 8-0 lead early.
North Queensland tries to Justin O’Neill in the 12th minute and James Tamou in the 25th minute put them ahead 12-8.
That was before a converted Jack Reed try put Brisbane ahead 14-12 at the 36th minute, a score that remained at halftime.
The Broncos extended that lead to 16-12 three minutes into the second. They were the only points after the break until Feldt skipped over after the siren.
Thurston took his time with the conversion before it bounced off the upright.
Ben Hunt’s knockon from the start of the golden point period handed the Cowboys vital field position and Thurston made no mistake with his second chance to win the game.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett refused to blame Hunt for the loss, but instead took aim at the the golden point rule.
In retiring skipper Justin Hodges’ last game, Bennett, who suffered defeat in his first grand final as sole head coach in eight attempts, said he didn’t feel like a loser.
“Someone’s got to lose, at the end of the day we got beaten by a field goal,” he said.
“Do we feel beaten? No we don’t.
“Are we disappointed? Yes, we are.
“But you have to recognise it is not about winning or losing all the time”.