Gavin Cooper finished off an incredible golden-point try as North Queensland Cowboys dramatically beat Canberra Raiders 20-16 to kick of their NRL campaign with a fiery win in Townsville.
With nothing to separate the two sides after 80 minutes, the Cowboys were the first side to score in additional time when Johnathan Thurston's field-goal attempt bounced off the underside of the crossbar but somehow stayed in play for Cooper to touch down.
Efforts from Zac Santo and Lachlan Coote sent the sides into half-time level, and an ill-disciplined Canberra moved clear despite having Clay Priest sin-binned for a high tackle – Joey Leilua, who appeared to throw a punch at Cooper a few minutes earlier, was the man to cross.
Coen Hess and Javid Bowen sent North Queensland clear but Leilua's second try sent the game to golden point with Thurston unable to notch a field goal before the buzzer.
But Cooper secured the win for the Cowboys in phenomenal circumstances, following up Thurston's kick to dab down the game-winning score.
Joel Thompson scored his first career hat-trick as St George Illawarra Dragons thumped Penrith Panthers 42-10 at UOW Jubilee Oval.
Captain Gareth Widdop and debutant Cameron McInness impressed for the Dragons, the latter opening his account after Josh Dugan's brilliant grubber for himself broke the line.
There was also a hat-trick for Latrell Mitchell as Sydney Roosters fended off a second-half fight from Gold Coast Titans to win 32-18 at Cbus Super Stadium.
The Roosters led 28-0 at half-time with Luke Keary grabbing a double in an exceptional display, but the Titans found themselves just 10 points adrift with 15 minutes remaining. However, Sydney held firm with Mitchell restoring some gloss to the scoreline with his third try at the death.