Former Kiwis prop Sam Kasiano leaves Johnathan Thurston in a world of pain after late hit as Storm edge Cowboys

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Cameron Smith has been left with bragging rights over long-time friend Johnathan Thurston as Melbourne ran out 7-6 NRL winners over North Queensland in Townsville.

In what was likely the last time the Queensland greats will share a playing field, the Melbourne skipper scored the Storm's only try last night before Thurston skewed a field-goal attempt well wide of the upright in the game's closing stages.

Kyle Feldt levelled the scores in the second half before, with eight minutes on the clock, Cameron Munster picked up a poor pass from Smith to kick a field goal to give the Storm the advantage.

The defeat at 1300SMILES Stadium is the eighth in 10 home games for the Cowboys, who at 3-9 remain second-bottom of the ladder, while the Storm move up to fourth.

After a scoreless first half-hour, Smith - in his return following a one-week ban - drove through a tackle from Thurston before diving over to put the Storm in front seven minutes before the break.

Feldt got the Cowboys on the board 13 minutes into the second half when Thurston, on the fifth tackle, passed wide to Te Maire Martin, who kicked to the right wing, where the Cowboys winger leapt above Josh Addo-Carr and touched down just inside the sideline.

Thurston then converted from the sidelines to level the scores.

There was no further scores until both teams' thoughts turned to field goals.

After Munster's successful kick, Michael Morgan also missed a field goal for the Cowboys before having a try disallowed for offside against Jason Taumalolo.

Smith admitted to fearing the worst when he saw Thurston lining up to send the game into golden point.

"He nails them nine times out of 10," the former Maroons skipper told the Nine Network.

"We don't like giving games up against each other so it was nice to get this one.

"It was a nice little tussle between Johnny and I.

"We're playing with plenty of effort. We've just got to clean up our skills and execution."

Storm duo Sam Kasiano and Felise Kaufusi were placed on report during the game.

Thurston was hit late in the lower back by Kasiano, which his coach Craig Bellamy called "unnecessary and unneeded", while Kaufusi committed a cannonball tackle on Matt Scott.

Scott, who seemed certain for a prolonged spell on the sidelines after a suspected medial ligament injury against the Rabbitohs last week, showed he's ready for Origin football with an early crunching tackle on Young Tonumaipea, forcing a turnover.

Maroons veteran Billy Slater missed the game with hamstring tightness but the fullback doesn't expect it to keep him out of Origin I on June 6.

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