Thurston kicks Cowboys to premiership
By Chris Kennedy, National Correspondent, NRL.com
It came after Thurston had made us wait for him to claim his moment, hitting the goal post with a sideline conversion attempt to win the game after the full-time siren at the end of 80 minutes following Kyle Feldt's last-second try to level the scores.
The fairytale had looked a very long way away as a frustrated Cowboys side repeatedly failed to drive home attacking chances in the second half as the clock – and Brisbane's four-point lead – began to take their toll.
With the trophy appearing certain to return to Brisbane in master coach Wayne Bennett's first year back in Red Hill, Cowboys five-eighth Michael Morgan – who had had a deeply underwhelming game to that point – finally clicked with one of his right-side raids, setting up Feldt's try with a magic flick pass.
The crowd erupted at the drama as well as the knowledge that one of the greatest players ever to have laced on a boot was about to step up to the mark to claim his place in history.
It was quiet as a whisper when 82,758 fans held their breath as Thurston took an age to line up the shot. When he eventually did it started right in typical style before drifting back, drifting back... and just as Thurston raised aloft a fist in triumph the ball clipped the right hand upright and bounced back into the field of play.
Those 82,758 erupted in either cheers or anguished groans in unison but more drama was to follow as a towering Feldt restart floated down into the lap of Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt... who spilled it cold.
It was a cruel blow for one of the most improved and impressive players in the competition and nothing like what he deserved after an outstanding season and controlled the night well.
But the Cowboys were jubilant and set to take a field goal from the scrum. Spotting the danger Brisbane raced up and shut the play down but it was only a temporary reprieve as the Cowboys went left, then went right, then finally straightened to set again and this time Thurston made no mistake, slotting the one-pointer straight between the posts to send all of North Queensland into raptures.
"I can't believe it. I can't believe what we've just done," a tearful Thurston said immediately after full-time.
"I love these boys. They've worked so hard
"I see it every day, the sacrifices they make, I see it every day. I love the club. I can't believe it."
* This article first appeared on NRL.com.au. For more on the Grand Final, including highlights, press conferences and game analysis, go to www.nrl.com.au.