The North Queensland Cowboys have beaten a brave Canterbury Bulldogs side 20-18 infront of a pack crowd at Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville.
Jonathan Thurston was simply amazing in attack and defense and proved why he was the player of the year. He was involved in everything and along with Matthew Bowen carved up the Bulldogs all night.
The Bulldogs showed toughness, but mistakes at critical times really took pressure off the Cowboys when you would expect the Bulldogs to hold their nerve and grind down their opposition.
Even so, the Bulldogs stuck in there and could almost stole the game later when Hazem ElMasri was tackled just short of the try line and lost the ball with inches between him and glory.
Still, North Queensland looked to have their measure all night and with Thurston dominating the entire game, they always looked like this would win this one.
The Bulldogs now need The Broncos to lose against the Storm on Sunday to get a second chance. If they get that chance, they will welcome Sonny Bill Williams back and could still cause problems for any team they come across later in the finals series.
As for the Cowboys, with Thurston and Bowen, anything is possible.