A strong first half by the Canberra Raiders wasn't enough to defeat a resilient North Queensland Cowboys side who scored 18 unanswered points in the second half to defeat the Raiders 18-12 at GIO Stadium on Thursday night.
The Raiders led 12-0 after an impressive first half but the Cowboys were able to produce a second half comeback to defeat the Raiders.
It didn't take long for the Raiders to score the first try of the match after capitalising on a penalty inside the Cowboys half. Hooker Tom Starling was able to cross over from dummy half in the second minute and the try was converted by Brad Schneider to give the Raiders a 6-0 lead.
The Raiders proved they were ready for the match after defending their line for numerous sets. The Cowboys failed to score after a six again, penalty and repeat set due to some brutal defence by the home side.
It would take only until the 13th minute for the Raiders to score the second try of the match through Jordan Rapana who crossed over for his first try of the season. Schneider converted from the right sideline to give the green machine a 12-0 lead.
The Raiders came so close to crossing over again after earning themselves a penalty which was unsuccessfully challenged by the Cowboys. A kick from Schneider just went a touch too wide of Semi Valemei which would've given the Raiders their third try in the opening quarter.
It was then the Cowboys who capitalised off a set restart to cross over in the 21st minute but the try was disallowed after there was an obstruction caused by Jeremiah Nanai on Jack Wighton.
The Raiders were then on the receiving end of another disallowed try in the 24th minute after the Raiders failed to score off a beautiful grubber kick from Wighton.
The Cowboys had numerous sets on the Raiders goal line but the defence by the home side was too good, including a massive hit by Jordan Rapana on Tom Dearden.
The Raiders came very close to scoring at the end of the first half after a great kick return by Rapana put the Raiders deep into opposition territory, however they were unable to take advantage and went into halftime with a 12-0 lead.
Both sides came out with intent in the second half but it was the Cowboys who finally crossed over for their first try of the match after receiving back to back penalties.
Helium Luki crashed over off a short ball by Reece Robson in the 45th minute and Valentine Holmes converted to bring the deficit to just six points.
The Cowboys continued to build momentum after Holmes made a linebreak which was stopped by some great scramble defence by Rapana and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
However this gave the Cowboys great field position in which they would earn themselves a line dropout but a one on one strip by Nicoll-Klokstad put an end to that attacking set.
The Cowboys had seemed to gain the momentum but some bruising defence by the Raiders forced an error and earned themselves a line dropout.
The Raiders came so close to scoring their opening try of the half after a Tapine offload put Schneider over the line but he was held up by some scrambling Cowboys defence.
The Cowboys then took advantage of an error by the Raiders close to their goal line to tie the game at 12-12 after a moment of brilliance by Valentine Holmes secured the Cowboys second try.
The Cowboys took the lead for the first time in the 69th minute after a great grubber by Scott Drinkwater put Nanai over for the Cowboys third try. Holmes converted to give the Cowboys a 18-12 lead with ten minutes remaining.
The Cowboys were attacking the Raiders line with five minutes remaining but Corey Harawira-Naera came up with another great one on one steal to bring momentum back to the Raiders.
The Raiders then earned themselves a penalty but failed to capitalise while attacking the Cowboys line.
Unfortunately that would be the Raiders final chance to tie the game as the Cowboys defeated the green machine 18-12.
The Raiders will be looking to claim their third win of the season against the Penrith Panthers next Sunday.