Ahead of the NRL resuming on May 28, Love Rugby League decided to look at some past matches between the third round match ups.
Our second match is North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans in round four of the 2010 NRL season.
The Cowboys had a mixed opening few games in 2010 ahead of their clash with the Titans, beating Penrith either side of defeats at Brisbane and St George Illawarra.
Their pre-season had been dominated with speculation of Johnathan Thurston’s new contract but eventually the star half-back signed a new three-year deal.
The Titans had started the season in impressive form, notching up consecutive wins over New Zealand Warriors, South Sydney and Canberra.
Captain and star half-back Scott Prince was an influential player in these early rounds – his drop goal proving decisive in the narrow win in Sydney.
North Queensland 32-20 Gold Coast
The match would be remembered for a classy trademark Thurston performance in what would arguably be the highlight of North Queensland’s season.
Scoring a try and producing a perfect kicking display off the tee, the half-back ended with a personal points haul of 16 points.
The Cowboys’ platform for this impressive win was surprisingly built on a strong first period where they led 18-6, having previously failed to score any first half points in 2010.
With the identity of the Titans try scorers being back-rowers Mark Minichello with a pair and Sam Tagataese, it was obvious how John Cartwright’s side planned to keep their winning run going.
Centre Willie Tonga, who would finish as his side’s top try scorer with 12, also emerged with credit for North Queensland with an impressive hat-trick of tries, with Luke O’Donnell adding a fifth.
North Queensland: Gallant; Williams, Graham, Tonga, Tupou; Thompson, Thurston; Scott, Payne, Kaufusi, Bolton, Rapira, O’Donnell. Subs: Watts, Tamou, Mason, Ah Mau.
Gold Coast: Zillman; Gordon, Rogers, Tomane, Mead; Bird, Campbell; Bailey, N Friend, Meyers, Tagataese, M Minichiello, Harrison. Subs: White, Matthews, Brown, Henderson.
What happened next?
North Queensland could not build on this win as they promptly lost their next four matches, not scoring more than 18 points in any.
The rot was stopped with a win over Sydney but it would be one of only five victories that season as they finished in awful fashion, losing their last six matches.
At least they did not end up with the wooden spoon courtesy of Melbourne’s salary cap ban meaning they were unable to gain competition points in 2010.
Rare positives in a disappointing campaign were a test debut for Matt Scott and lock Jason Taumalolo becoming the club’s youngest debutant at 17 years and 82 days.
Gold Coast became inconsistent with four wins and four defeats from their following eight matches.
A run of three successive losses from round 16 saw them fall to eighth and it seemed they would face a battle to make the finals.
However, a late season surge of six wins from their final seven matches saw them finish fourth and earn a qualifying final against the Warriors.
Their run continued with a 28-16 win but their season was ended comprehensively by the Roosters who eased to a 32-6 win in the preliminary final.
Their conquerors would go on to play minors premiers St George Illawarra in the Grand Final but were brushed aside 32-8.
By Sam Harris
Watch NRL and live stream every NRL game to keep up with how Tom Burgess, John Bateman, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead, James Graham, George Williams and all the others are getting on Down Under.
Watch our Last Tackle podcast, featuring a guest, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on YouTube.
Listen to The Final Hooter podcast, featuring exclusive interviews, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on Apple Podcasts.
More on site