The Cowboys' Cinderella season continues after they upset the Roosters in their NRL preliminary final at Allianz Stadium in Sydney last night.
A Michael Morgan field goal with four minutes left sealed the deal for North Queensland, who will meet minor premiers Melbourne at ANZ Stadium next Sunday night. But just to rub salt into the wounds of the plucked Chooks, Scott Bolton scored on fulltime to make sure of the Cowboys' third grand final appearance.
North Queensland became the first team to reach the grand final from eighth position since the Eels in 2009.
Their unexpected success has been largely built around the incredible exploits of Kiwis enforcer Jason Taumalolo, who has lifted another gear in the last few weeks.
The 24-year-old is surely the best impact forward in the NRL, and his ability to continually bend the defensive line has provided the Cowboys with constant momentum.
Taumalolo has carried for more than 190 metres per game during the regular season, and has lifted that to an extraordinary 230 metres a match in the finals, as well as a large defensive load.
Kyle Feldt turned the game for the Cowboys last night in the 65th minute by scoring in the corner with a blade of grass to spare.
Ethan Lowe added the conversion and North Queensland were on their way to the grand final.
Lowe added a vital penalty in the 70th minute to stretch the lead to six points.
A Blake Ferguson try after a Cowboys lost ball had put the Roosters back in front but fullback Mick Gordon could not add the extras.
Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce opened up the Cowboys, in the 46th minute, showing it inside before slipping a pass to Boyd Cordner who bursts through a gap. He drew the cover and sent Connor Watson over to give the Roosters the lead for the first time.
But the Cowboys struck straight back when in-form halfback Morgan laid on a pass for centre Kane Linnett to score and Lowe's conversion had the Cows back on top.
Morgan caught the Roosters off-guard early with a 40/20 in the sixth minute, but the chance to attack didn't lead to points for coach Paul Green's men.
Both sides went set-for-set inside the opening 18 minutes until Roosters lock Isaac Liu spilled the ball to put further pressure on the Tricolours' defensive line.
A high shot on front-rower Bolton enabled the Cowboys to take first points via a penalty goal in front.
Things got worse for Trent Robinson's side with mid-season recruit Te Maire Martin showing a piece of individual brilliance to get over the line.
The Cowboys five-eighth stepped inside Roosters pair Pearce and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to outsprint five defenders to the line.
Despite a week off heading into the clash, the Roosters were on their heels once more with Ryan Matterson caught in-goal and North Queensland looked the more likely in the opening 40 minutes.
Another error -- this time from Sio Siua Taukeiaho -- handed the visitors another chance to extend their lead, but a last pass to Lowe in a gap went to ground.
The Roosters were handed their first penalty after 34 minutes and that sparked energy into Robinson's side before the break.
A cross-field kick off the boot of Pearce was plucked out of the air for Mitchell to dive over the line after some miscommunication between right-edge defenders Feldt and Linnett enabled the 20-year-old to take a clean catch.
North Queensland Cowboys 29 (TM Martin, K Linnett, K Feldt, M Bolton tries; E Lowe 6 gls; M Morgan fg)
Sydney Roosters 16 (L Mitchell, C Watson, B Ferguson tries; M Gordon 2 gls).