Wests Tigers have produced one of the upsets of the NRL season, with Mitchell Moses leading the joint venture to a memorable 26-14 win over North Queensland at Leichhardt Oval.
Minus halfback Luke Brooks on Sunday against a Cowboys side boosted by the return of superstar Johnathan Thurston from a hamstring injury, the Tigers were deserved four-tries-to-two winners.
Sauaso Sue crashed over seven minutes from fulltime to seemingly give the Tigers the win before Ethan Lowe hit back for the visitors.
James Tedesco then scored one of the individual tries of the season, beating at least six defenders on his way to the line in the final minute to push the Tigers into the top eight for the first time since early in the season.
The loss tips premiers the Cowboys out of the top four with four rounds to play until the finals.
Thurston was a late inclusion for the round-22 clash and while he tried hard to spark his side, he was well below his usual sparkling form.
In comparision, Moses led the Tigers brilliantly in attack and was stoic in defence as the Robbie Farah-less Wests claimed their best win of the season to stay in finals contention.
The home side opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Kevin Naiqama pounced on a Moses kick that was deflected off Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote.
A 19th-minute Moses penalty goal put the Tigers further ahead before the Cowboys opened their account as Thurston grubbered behind Wests’ defensive line for Kane Linnett.
David Nofoaluma put the Tigers ahead again in the 31st minute when he forced his way through three Cowboys defenders.
Another Moses penalty goal two minutes from the break gave the home side a six-point buffer at halftime.
For most of the bruising second half, the only points were from penalty goals through Moses in the 62nd minute and Thurston in the 67th minute.
But then the Tigers forced a late dropout and after the visitors went short with the restart, giving the home side great field position, Sue crashed over.
Lowe kept the Cowboys in the hunt before Tedesco sealed the win.
North Queensland are now 1-9 at Leichhardt. The Cowboys have won three from 10 away from home this year.
Thurston is winless from five games at the suburban venue and 0-12 at Sydney venues against the Tigers.