A sublime Tony Milford drop-goal gave Brisbane Broncos a dramatic 21-20 golden-point win over North Queensland Cowboys to gain a measure of revenge in a repeat of last year's NRL Grand Final.
The Cowboys needed extra time to beat the Broncos in one of the great NRL Grand Finals last October and the derby rivals served up another classic at a packed Suncorp Stadium on Friday.
Johnathan Thurston thought he had won it for the defending premiers when he went over in extra time, but the try was ruled out and Milford ensured Broncos coach Wayne Bennett could celebrate his two-year contract extension with a stunning victory.
Milford dotted down for the opening try of the match after James Roberts showed a great turn of foot to make the break and Corey Parker added the extras to make it 10-0, having also slotted over two penalties.
The Cowboys responded and were rewarded when Jake Granville showed quick thinking to touch down, but Parker added another two points with the boot to put the Broncos 12-6 up at the end of a first half in which Matt Gillett and Ethan Lowe had tries ruled out.
Parker was successful once again from the tee seven minutes into the second half, but the Cowboys were in front for the first time at 18-14 following converted tries from Michael Morgan and Ethan Lowe.
There was still plenty of drama to come, though, as Roberts raced away to level the scores and Parker converted to give the Broncos a 20-18 lead with three minutes to play, only for a Thurston penalty right at the end to take a thriller into extra time.
Thurston was celebrating what he thought was a match-winning try, but was adjudged to have knocked on and Milford added insult to injury by clinically landing a drop goal five minutes into extra time to spark jubilant scenes as the Broncos went joint-top of the ladder.
Canterbury Bulldogs are level on six points with the Broncos and Melbourne Storm after Josh Morris scored a first-half double in his 200th NRL appearance in a 42-12 mauling of South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Bunnies, missing the injured Sam Burgess and Alex Johnston, conceded six first-half tries as they were put to the sword to trail 32-0 at the break by a rampant Bulldogs outfit.
Will Hopoate, Moses Mbye, Craig Garvey, Sam Perrett, Curtis Rona and Chase Stanley also went over in a one-sided encounter at ANZ Stadium.