Cowboys net semi-final spot
Michael Morgan's extra-time field goal gave North Queensland a semi-final spot as they beat the Sharks 15-14 at Allianz Stadium.
The Cowboys twice trailed by eight points but finally drew level with two minutes left of normal time through an Ethan Lowe penalty goal.
They stole the win in extra-time to end Cronulla's hopes of being the first team in more than 20 years to win back-to-back titles. Paul Green's men will now take on Parramatta in the semi-finals next weekend.
Cronulla were left to rue a stripping penalty at their line that gave Lowe the chance to level the scores at the death.
Morgan kicked his field goal seconds before the end of the first half of extra time, which proved to be the only scoring chance of the added periods.
Jason Taumalolo was instrumental in the visitors' win, coming up with a second-half try that got them back to within two points. He ran for 256 metres and made 47 tackles as well as backing through four defenders to plant down the ball for the late score.
The Sharks grabbed the only try of the first half, just three minutes into the contest. Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein was pushed back in goal, losing control of the ball as he tried to plant it in the field of play, and halfback Chad Townsend pounced for an easy four-pointer.
James Maloney converted and added an 18th-minute penalty goal before Lowe kicked a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time for the Cowboys.
That came after Maloney was sin-binned for tackling Lowe off the ball, leaving the Sharks to defend the first ten minutes of the second half with only 12 men.
Kyle Feldt cashed in against the short-handed hosts just before parity in numbers was restored, getting on the end of an overlap to make it 8-6.
Cronulla extended their lead when a perfect grubber from Townsend allowed Jack Bird to score their second try of the game, with Maloney converting.
North Queensland are 3.30 to beat the Eels, who are 1.36. The Cowboys are 1.93 with an eight-point lead.
View all Rugby League betting