North Queensland out of the hunt thanks in part to seventh tackle try.
The Cronulla Sharks’ NRL premiership dreams are still alive for another week after outlasting the North Queensland Cowboys 20-18 in a controversial clash at Allianz Stadium.
A shocking referee blunder in the eighth minute allowed the Sharks to score on what was the seventh tackle of the set allowed them to skip out to an early lead.
And while the Cowboys managed to claw their way back into the game and leveled the score up at 12-all soon after half-time, they were denied a further chance for victory late in the game.
Kane Linnett was denied a try in the dying seconds when play continued with the clock stopped on 41 seconds for the entire set.
As a result the Cowboys bowed out of the finals in heartbreaking fashion for the second time in as many years, as the NRL said it will launch a full investigation as to who the refereeing and clock blunders could possibly happen in such an important game.
The Sharks have booked another sudden-death clash next week when they play the loser of the Manly Sea Eagles and the Sydney Roosters.
Cronulla 20 (S Feki B Pomeroy B Ryan S Tagataese tries M Gordon 2 goals) bt North Queensland 18 (B Tate J Taumalolo W Ulugia tries J Thurston 3 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Henry Perenara.