The Thunderbolts were unable to transfer their unquestionable 80-minute effort into a match-winning score, eventually going down 44-38 against North Queensland.
Jesse Arthars was a standout for Storm’s U20s, running hard all day and provide a focal point from fullback.
The third-placed U20 Cowboys were always going to be a difficult contain with their big size up front. That proved the case early when they controlled territory and hit the lead through winger Gideon Gela-Mosby inside five minutes.
The Thunderbolts had to wait until the eighth minute to enter their opponent’s half but made it count as Jaiyden Hunt pounced on a loose ball to score the home side’s first.
North Queensland responded though with back-to-back tries in the space of three minutes to take the lead out to eight.
However the Thunderbolts refused to drop their heads and were rightly rewarded on 25 minutes when Cory Parker broke through the U20 Cowboys’ line to score.
The visitor’s size was proving a tough hurdle to overcome for the Thunderbolts, who began to tire towards the end of the half.
The Cowboys capitalized with three tries in the final ten minutes to take a 28-10 lead into the sheds.
An arm wrestle followed after the restart and it was the Thunderbolts who broke through in the 50th minute with Angelo Leaupepe sneaking over from dummy half. Jesse Arthars added the conversion to cut the deficit to 12 with half an hour to play.
Just when it seemed they were back in the contest teen sensation Kalyn Ponga put a stop to that with a brilliant 60 metre solo try and touchline conversion.
Trey Kemp added another off the bench, while Gela-Mosby secured his hat-trick either side of an Arthars try under the posts.
The Thunderbolts refused to roll over, finishing with a later surge that saw them score three tries in the final six minutes to ensure they finished on a high and went into next week with plenty to build on.
Storm NYC Thunderbolts 38
Tries: Jesse Arthars, Jaiyden Hunt, Cory Parker, Angelo Leaupepe, Joel Gittins, Jacob Tongue
Goals: Jesse Arthars 4
North Queensland Cowboys 44
Tries: Gideon Gela-Mosby 3, Marcus Jensen, Nathan Traill, Coen Hess, Brandon Smith, Kalyn Ponga, Trey Kemp
Goals: Kalyn Ponga 3