Away form is an issue no more for the North Queensland Cowboys, recording a 20-12 victory tonight against a poor Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs outfit in front of just under 10,000 fans at ANZ Stadium.
Canterbury were the first side to crack the scoreboard with Mitch Brown scoring the opening try. Hodkinson's conversion had the Dogs up 6-0. The Cowboys bided their time until striking back with a double to Matthew Wright - this took the visitors to a 10-6 lead which was later extended on halftime with a Johnathan Thurston penalty goal. Despite the confident start the Bulldogs fell away badly through poor handling and discipline, as well as poor defensive reads on the edges which allowed the Cowboys space down the flanks.
The biggest concern for the Cowboys came in the first half when James Tamou went down with what appeared to be a concussion but has since been revealed as a neck injury.
The Bulldogs wing woes changed little in the second half with the Cowboys pushing their lead to 18-6 when Thurston pushed a great pass wide to Antonio Winterstein who got outside the Canterbury outside men who'd come too far in-field. He went over almost untouched and the Bulldogs looked listless. They finally hit back in the 61st minute when Josh Jackson hit a well-timed Hodkinson pass and the margin was reduced back to six points, but the Bulldogs continued to butcher the limited chances they had with poor execution, mixed with solid and imposing defence from the Cowboys.
The scoreline stayed at 18-12 til the final minute when Thurston potted a late penalty goal and the 9,873 hardy souls who'd made their way to ANZ filed for the exits. A short kickoff resulted in no joy for Canterbury and means the Belmore club is now winless in two straight games - the Cowboys now two away wins from their last two away games!
Next week the Cowboys are at home to the Titans on Saturday evening, while Canterbury will host Penrith on Friday night back at ANZ Stadium.