NRL: North Queensland Cowboys claim stunning comeback win as Raiders throw away another lead

North Queensland Cowboys have mounted a stunning second-half comeback, clawing their way back to defeat Canberra Raiders 26-24 in Townsville on Saturday night.

Canberra opened the scoring nearly midway through the first half, as Kiwis winger Jordan Rapana touched down in the corner, only for opposite Kyle Feldt to level the scores four minutes later.

But having worked to just get back into the game, the Cowboys fell away and conceded three unanswered tries in the first half.

Emre Guler, Rapana's second, and George Williams all added more tries for the Raiders, making Canberra's advantage 24-6 before the break.

Ben Condon managed to hit back for the Cowboys, scoring before halftime - but down 24-12, North Queensland had their work cut out for them.

But work they did.

Coming out as a team possessed in the second spell, Reece Robson opened the scoring in the second half for North Queensland, closing the gap back to 24-18, and when Justin O'Neill crossed over in the 58th minute, Valentine Holmes' conversion levelled scores at 24-all.

However, there were shades of controversy around O'Neill's leveller, with replays appearing to show him straying offside chasing Scott Drinkwater's kick in the lead up to the try.

A penalty call against the Raiders allowed Holmes to add two more with a penalty kick, seeing the Cowboys take the lead for the first time.

From there, North Queensland didn't relent, holding on to pull off one of the NRL season's great escapes.

But as bad as the loss looks for Canberra, it pales in comparison to throwing away a 21-point lead to NZ Warriors earlier this year.

The loss is Canberra's third on the trot, seeing them waste a chance to leapfrog the Warriors and take a top-eight spot. The Cowboys meanwhile move up into 11th on the NRL ladder, outside of the top eight on points differential.

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