6 Jun 2011

Cowboys win in Canberra

6:26 am on 6 June 2011

North Queensland produced a mighty comeback to stun Canberra 40-24 in an incident-packed NRL clash in the Australian capital on Sunday night.

As if blowing a 22-0 lead wasn't painful enough for the Raiders, they also lost star duo Josh Dugan and Terry Campese to leg injuries, with Dugan now in serious doubt for NSW's State of Origin return bout with Queensland on Wednesday week.

The classy fullback suffered a syndesmosis injury and will have scans on Monday, but seems likely to be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks.

Dugan hurt his ankle in the 24th minute before Campese's long-awaited comeback from a knee reconstruction lasted even less when he came on as the replacement only to depart minutes later with a groin injury.

The visitors, who appeared to be in for a long afternoon, woke from their slumber and quickly took advantage of the Raiders' predicament.

The Cowboys scored quick tries to Johnathan Thurston and Glenn Hall, then second-rower Tariq Sims took over as star of the show.

He scored a try just before halftime and another just after the break to level the scores at 22-22.

Canberra centre Jarrod Croker briefly put the Raiders back in front with a 67th-minute penalty goal before the Cowboys piled on late tries through hooker Aaron Payne and a double to winger Kalifa Faifai Loa to complete the amazing comeback.

For the Cowboys, it was a vital away win as they consolidated their place in the top four.

The Raiders' finals chances, though, now look bleak with their mid-season revival apparently snuffed out, they lie dead last on the NRL ladder.