North Queensland ventures to Melbourne in Round 25 for a clash that could have massive implications on the make-up of the top eight. Throwback Thursday marks 10 years since the clubs met in a sudden-death semi-final.
The Cowboys had been rocked by a 50-6 drubbing at the hands of Wests Tigers on the 2005 qualifying finals weekend, while the Storm guaranteed their passage to week two with a 24-18 upset of Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
But the northerners, inspired by Dally M medallist Johnathan Thurston – an off-season acquisition from the Bulldogs – and Matt Bowen, raced out to a 16-0 halftime lead after winger Ty Williams bagged a double.
The Storm, who featured Matt Orford at halfback patrolling a freakishly talented bunch of youngsters that included Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Greg Inglis, landed on the scoreboard via a Steve Bell try as the referee missed a blatant knock-on and failed to refer the decision to the video ref.
Tries to Matt King and Orford trimmed the deficit to just two points, but the Cowboys clinched a preliminary final berth in the dying minutes when Bowen and Luke O’Donnell combined to send utility David Faiumu over, sealing a tense 24-16 result.
The Cowboys shocked minor premiers Parramatta 29-0 a week later, but went down to the Tigers again in the grand final, 30-16.