The 2015 NRL Grand Final Winners: The North Queensland Cowboys

It is considered to be one of the most exciting Grand Finals of all time, and a game in which the little brother of Queensland Rugby League emerged from the shadows of its bigger brother and finally become one of the leagues heavyweights.

Since entering the top grade in 1995 the North Queensland Cowboys had been seen as a bit of an easy beat. It took a number of years for the club to start producing top level talent, but things just never seemed to come together at the right time for the club, and they kept losing players to other teams, in particular the Brisbane Broncos, as the best talent they produced looked to go elsewhere to play in winning teams.

Things started to turn around however when the Cowboys signed young halfback from the Canterbury Bulldogs named Johnathan Thurston. Thurston was seen as being a good, young halfback that was worthy of leading a team of his own, but no one would guess that he would become one of the best halfbacks we have ever seen.

The Cowboys were able to build around Thurston, and the club was now able to not only hold onto its best young players, but attract top talent from around the Rugby League playing world.

The Cowboys soon started to challenge the Brisbane Broncos, turning games between both teams into sold out, must see games. The Cowboys become a finals team, gaining experience and proving they were one of the best clubs in the competition.

It culminated in an incredible match up in the 2015 NRL Grand Final, a game which had so many incredible moments, and that was won in golden point extra time by a Johnathan Thurston field goal, securing the clubs first Premiership and cementing the legacies of a number of Cowboys players.

The North Queensland Cowboys – 2015 Grand Final Team
1 Lachlan Coote
2 Kyle Feldt
3 Justin O’Neill
4 Kane Linnett
5 Antonio Winterstein
6 Michael Morgan
7 Johnathan Thurston (C)
8 Matthew Scott (C)
9 Jake Granville
10 James Tamou
11 Gavin Cooper
12 Ethan Lowe
13 Jason Taumalolo

14 Rory Kostjasyn
15 John Asiata
16 Scott Bolton
17 Ben Hannant

Coach: Paul Green

North Queensland Cowboys 17
Tries: Justin O’Neill, James Tamou, Kyle Feldt
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 2/3
Field Goal: Johnathan Thurston

Brisbane Broncos 16
Tries: Corey Oats, Jack Reed
Goals: Corey Parker 2/2, Jordan Kahu 2/2

Johnathan Thurston won the Clive Churchill Medal as the games man of the match.

Despite decades worth of conjecture in the media about how a Sydney based crowd would turn up to watch two Queensland teams contest the NRL Grand Final, the game was effectively a sellout at Stadium Australia with 82,758 turning up in a very well received Grand Final that rated very well in all states.

This was the second appearance of the North Queensland Cowboys in the Grand Final, having lost to the Wests Tigers in the 2005 NRL Grand Final, and it was the first time the Brisbane Broncos were beaten in a Grand Final.

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