North Queensland Cowboys came from 16 points down to beat Canberra Raiders 28-22 in their NRL match in Townsville.

North Queensland Cowboys have started their 2014 campaign with a win, scraping home 28-22 in an enthralling match against the Canberra Raiders in Townsville.

The home side managed five tries to Canberra’s four and didn’t secure victory until nine minutes from time.

Opening points in the battle between two new coaches and two vastly different rosters came after 19-year-old Canberra fullback Anthony Milford put winger Edrick Lee over in the ninth minute.

Canberra centre Jarrod Croker capitalised on a dropped ball from Cowboys halfback Robert Lui in the 19th minute to run 70 metres for a converted try.

The visitors continued their strong start when enforcer Josh Papalii muscled over close to the line in the 26th minute taking Canberra to a 16-point lead.

Minutes later winger Kyle Feldt opened the home side’s account crossing in the corner following a long distance break from centre Kane Linnett.

A quick tap and individual brilliance from superstar Jonathan Thurston saw the Cowboys head into halftime within six after his converted try in the 34th minute.

Strong kick chases leading to repeat sets saw the Cowboys apply pressure to the visitors after the break and they looked certain to score, only to have a try disallowed in the 48th minute.

The constant pressure paid off minutes later when Cowboys evened the score after second-rower Gavin Cooper crossed for a converted try following some Tate and Thurston magic.

In the 59th minute utility forward Rory Kostjasyn scooted from dummy-half to score under the posts giving the home team the lead for the first time in the match.

Canberra speedster Reece Robinson landed an intercept off a Thurston ball in the 64th minute to run the length of the field for a try, but an unsuccessful conversion attempt saw the Cowboys hold the lead at 22-20.

This was to be short lived though as a silly mistake in front of the Cowboys line saw the match locked back up following a penalty conversion.

A gutsy effort saw winger Antonio Winterstein come within millimetres of the left edge to score and secure the Cowboys their first two points of the season.