2 Sep 2014

Cowboys clinch playoff spot

12:41 pm on 2 September 2014

North Queensland have secured an NRL finals berth with a 20-19 golden point win over Cronulla in Townsville.

North Queensland's Johnathan Thurston

North Queensland's Johnathan Thurston Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Cowboys improved to fifth on the table thanks to Johnathan Thurston who scored a try and kicked two field goals, landing the winner with only 24 seconds left on the clock.

The gallant Sharks went into the match seriously depleted with seven of their first graders suspended and another nine out with injury.

The Cowboys last game of the regular season is against Manly and they could finish as high as fourth going into the playoffs.

Meanwhile the Warriors have kept their hopes of qualifying for the National Rugby League finals alive by crushing the Gold Coast Titans 42-0 at Mount Smart Stadium.

The Warriors celebrate Dominique Peyroux's try.

The Warriors celebrate Dominique Peyroux's try. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The home side scored five first-half tries to Ben Henry, Dominique Peyroux, Nathan Friend, Sam Tomkins and Conrad Hurrell to take a 30-0 lead into the break.

Tomkins opened the scoring in the second half with his second before Shaun Johnson crossed the line after an impressive 50-metre run.

Johnson had a perfect night with the boot kicking all seven conversions.

The win has lifted the Warriors from 10th to 9th on the ladder, just outside the top eight teams who contest the finals.

Their last game of the regular season is a tough away fixture next week against the fourth-placed Penrith Panthers.

Meanwhile South Sydney risk losing Kiwis hooker Issac Luke for two weeks after deciding to fight a dangerous contact charge at the NRL judiciary.

Isaac Luke

Isaac Luke Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Luke was cited for kicking Canterbury skipper Michael Ennis in last week's win over the Bulldogs.

If successful, Luke will be free to play the Sydney Roosters this week but if he loses he'll miss that match as well as week one of the finals.

The Rabbitohs currently sit second on the ladder, only narrowly ahead of the Roosters on points difference.