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Cowboys edge Knights in Townsville thriller

A crazy first half of football has set up a highly entertaining game in Townsville, with a Knights comeback falling just short, with the Cowboys prevailing 36-20 at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

The Knights were again made to play from behind, with the Cowboys racing to a 16-0 after just 19 minutes before two Cowboys sin bins sparked a stirring comeback.

Simi Sasagi, who made his debut after missing two full seasons of football thanks to injuries and COVID-19, was a constant threat down the right edge and played a key role in the try which put the Knights in front early in the second half.

In a game where momentum changed constantly, the Cowboys didn't go down easy and wrestled the lead back in the final 20 minutes.

The first quarter of the game was a similar story to that of last week's Magic Round, with the Knights very slow out of the blocks.

Fitzgibbon finds space in the depleted Cowboys line

Murray Taulagi grabbed the opening try of the game, while Reece Robson nabbed the Cowboys' second just minutes later.

Down 12-0, the Knights needed a response.

They almost had the perfect one, with only a bunker referral denying a flying Starford To'a.

However, Taulagi added a second before a nice passage off footy gifted Sauaso Sue his first ever try in Knights colours.

Then came the turning point.

Tyson Frizell copped a nasty high shot off Jason Taumalolo, who spent 10 minutes in the sin bin for his troubles.

Lachlan Burr soon joined him for a swinging arm on Jayden Brailey.

The Knights took immediate advantage of the extra man, with Enari Tuala charging over to bring the Knights back within a try.

When Lachlan Fitzgibbon charged over, it was suddenly 16-all.

With all the momentum, it was all the Knights early in the second half.

Sasagi with a pass that Matt Gidley would stand and applaud

The Sasagi moment of brilliance edged them ahead, with a sublime flick pass sending To'a over in the corner.

Despite conceding 20 unanswered points, the Cowboys refused to go away.

Taulagi's third try breathed new life into the home side, locking the scores up at 20-20 heading into the final quarter.

Val Holmes had them in front with a scintillating solo effort just a few minutes later, with Mitch Dunn sealing the two points in the 70th minute.

With the Cowboys and three tough weeks of travel now behind them, the Knights will now shift focus to their Indigenous Round clash with Manly at McDonald Jones Stadium, their first game at home in nearly a month.