Storm edge Cowboys in a thriller
It is a win Storm fans will not forget for some time.
A Melbourne team full of heart edged North Queensland by a single point in front of a sold out crowd at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
A Cameron Smith field goal, just the second of his career, and an incredible try-saving tackle by Tohu Harris in the dying moments sealed the thrilling win.
The newly re-signed Cameron Munster put in a near-perfect performance with a game-high 193 metres while the skipper was tireless with 62 tackles, 18 more than any other player on the ground.
The Cowboys drew first blood after three and a half minutes through Gavin Cooper after the football landed in his lap off a Storm error.
From there the reigning premiers piled on the pressure, controlling the football inside the Storm 20 for the next six minutes.
The purple wall was asked countless questions early on and answered them bravely, making 30 tackles in 17 minutes inside their own 20.
In the 20th minute a penalty to the Cowboys saw Johnathan Thurston take the two points in front of the posts for an 8-0 lead.
However Melbourne would not faulter and on their next possession pinned North Queensland on their own line for the first time in the game and made the most of it.
Tohu Harris collected a pass from Cameron Smith at dummy half to bulldoze over and score a try for the third straight game for the first time in his career.
That proved the spark Storm needed to go on and take the lead off the very next set.
When Lachlan Coote dropped a Cooper Cronk high ball Kevin Proctor was on hand to make him pay. Another Smith conversion suddenly saw the men in purple with their noses in front by four points at half-time.
An error and two penalties against the Cowboy had Storm again on the front foot after the restart. As his counterpart did in the first half, Smith took the penalty kick in front of the posts to stretch the lead out to a converted try.
Three straight penalties swung momentum the Cowboys way, sending them deep into Storm territory and that was all the invitation the reigning premiers needed to level the scores.
A clinical Jake Granville pass sent Michael Morgan through before Thurston made sure of the conversion to set up a grandstand finish.
With 20 minutes to go Suliasi Vunivalu sent a sold out Suncorp Stadium to their feet when he set off on a 70 metre run down field.
It was the Cowboys though who found have gone in front on 68 minutes if not for an outstanding, diving tackle by Harris at the line on Antonio Winterstein.
Desperation at one end turned into cool heads at the other. With the entire ground expecting Cronk to take the field goal it was instead the Storm skipper who stepped up from 15m out to nudge his side into the narrowest of leads.
Melbourne Storm 15
Tries: Tohu Harris, Kevin Proctor
Goals: Cameron Smith 3
Field goal: Cameron Smith
North Queensland Cowboys 14
Tries: Gavin Cooper, Michael Morgan
Goals: Jonathan Thurston 3