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Throwback Thursday: vs North Queensland Cowboys

Wests Tigers are currently preparing for back to back games in Queensland as they travel north to take on the Cowboys and Broncos in consecutive weeks.

The joint-venture holds a stronger record against the Cowboys than any other side currently playing in the league, with 23 victories over the past 23 seasons.

Wests Tigers have only played one match at the newly-constructed Queensland Country Bank Stadium, which they won in Round 22 last season.

Queensland Country Bank Stadium
Queensland Country Bank Stadium

Ahead of Sunday afternoon’s match, we’re partnering with Boomer Home Loans to go back and revisit the most memorable clash between Wests Tigers and the North Queensland Cowboys.

We couldn’t write about the club’s rivalry with the Cowboys and not reflect upon the biggest match in the 22-year history of the joint-venture.

The 2005 Grand Final 

Sitting in twelfth position after sixteen rounds, Tim Sheens’ men embarked on a march towards the Finals with an eight-match winning streak and victories over the Cowboys, Broncos and Dragons to book their place in the Grand Final.

Wests Tigers got off to a nervous start in the decider, with Jonathan Thurston sending Matt Bowen away to score the first try of the match after just eight minutes.

However, Paul Bowman soon provided Wests Tigers with a gift to level the scores by throwing a wild pass in his own in-goal that landed in the lap of Bryce Gibbs.

The defining moment of the match came in the 35th minute as Brett Hodgson received a Jonathan Thurston kick and passed off to a young Benji Marshall.

Marshall skipped through the staggered defensive line and broke into the clear, before throwing that famous flick pass to the trailing Pat Richards.

Richards fended Rod Jensen away to score a magical try, which gave his side a six-point lead at the break.

Wests Tigers started the second half in confident fashion, with Robbie Farah turning Anthony Laffranchi underneath and away to score.

A try to Travis Norton kept North Queensland within touching distance of the lead, but Scott Prince soon widened the margin by skipping across the field and creating space for Daniel Fitzhenry to score by the right touchline.

As time ticked down, the result remained in the balance and the nerves of Wests Tigers fans were heightened when a cut-out pass from Jonathan Thurston found an unmarked Matt Sing in the 78th minute.

However, with the season on the line, Josh Hannay was unable to slot the conversion to bring the margin back within one converted try.

Much to the delight of 80,000 screaming fans at Telstra Stadium, the Cowboys couldn’t stop Todd Payten from diving on a grubber kick from Brett Hodgson in the final minute of play to put the icing on the cake of a Grand Final triumph.

The victory gave Wests Tigers their maiden premiership in their first finals appearance, and the celebrations continued long into the night and the days that followed.

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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