And then there
were four?

There were wild scenes in Townsville on Saturday night as the Cowboys downed the Broncos in front of 25,000 screaming fans. The North Queenslanders came away 10-0 victors, eliminating their Brisbane cousins from the competition. After leading 8-0 at half time, the Cowboys defended superbly to lock out a gallant Broncos outfit. It was a less than ideal send-off for Broncos veteran Gorden Tallis, playing his final game in the city in which he was born.

It was the first time the Cowboys had defeated the Broncos since joining the competition in 1995. The Cowboys are now only one win away from a grand final berth, but regardless of what happens next weekend, 2004 has been North Queensland?s most successful season to date.

In Sunday?s match, stand-in five eighth Jonathon Thurston was in tremendous form as the Bulldogs showed a clean pair of heels to the Melbourne Storm. Leading 22-6 at half time, the Bulldogs went on with it, cruising to 34-6 before running out convincing 43-18 winners.

Although they showed some glimpses of coming back midway through the second half, the result was a disappointing end to the Storm?s season. For the Bulldogs, the victory was the perfect response to last weekend?s loss to the Cowboys and must see them firm as equal favourites for this year?s premiership.

Next weekend matches: Saturday 25 September, 7:45PM: Panthers v Bulldogs (at Aussie Stadium) Sunday 26 September, 3:45PM: Roosters v Cowboys (at Telstra Stadium)

League wrap Finals: week two

COWBOYS 10 Tries: Myles Goals: Hannay 3/3 defeated BRONCOS 0 Dairy Farmers Stadium, Crowd: 24,989 Referee: Tim Mander players of the match: 3 - M Bowen (Cowboys) 2 - P Rauhihi (Cowboys) 1 - L O'Donnell (Cowboys)

BULLDOGS 43 Tries: Thurston 2, Perry, Ryan, El Masri, Tonga, Patten Goals: El Masri 7/8, Sherwin FG defeated STORM 18 Tries: Bell 2, Slater Goals: Orford 3/3 Aussie Stadium, Crowd: 23,750 Referee: Paul Simpkins players of the match: 3 - B Sherwin (Bulldogs) 2 - S Price (Bulldogs) 1 - J Thurston (Bulldogs)