The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs held on to a 36-26 victory at 1300SMILES Stadium despite the match ending in controversial circumstances with a try awarded to Robert Lui.
The first half score two tries scored apiece with the game locked at 12-all after forty minutes. Bulldogs fullback, Ben Barba built up his confidence as he posted two tries. His first game after 23 minutes as he ran a support line to back up Greg Eastwood.
North Queensland returned serve with two quick tries five minutes later. Brent Tate with the first Cowboys points as he finished off a line break from Glen Hall. The second scored by second-rower, Dallas Johnson who strolled through the Bulldogs defence thanks to a secondary strong run from Glen Hall.
Ben Barba closed the half for the Bulldogs with his second four-pointer of the evening as he made the defenders look like amateur. At the break, the game in a dead lock at 12-all.
The Cowboys looked to be returning to form quickly in the second half as fill in fullback, Clint Greenshields dived on a mistake from Ben Barba in goal to score two minutes into the second forty.
Several penalties throughout the contest saw some inconsistency in the policing of the ruck. However the Cowboys capitalized on this as Robert Lui extended the lead to 8 points with a penalty goal, 20-12, after 50 minutes.
From that point on it was downhill for the Cowboys as the Bulldogs posted four unanswered tries in 20 minutes. Ben Barba was in the action once again, this time to provide a pin-point pass to his winger in Mitch Brown to dive over the chalk.
Tony Williams has been criticised as of late, however, tonight he managed to cross the white-wash and set up Greg Eastwood for his own try. Thanks to the man they call 'T-Rex', the boys from Canterbury blew the score out to 30-20.
Man of the match, Trent Hodkinson put the final nail in the Cowboys coffin with a simple 'show and go' dart from acting half to secure the victory. However, before the celebrations could be started, the Cowboys through Robert Lui posted the final points of the outing.
In a somewhat controversial situation, the video referee failed to rule on a knock on from Aston Sims to award the green lights. Luckily for the Bulldogs, their lead was large enough to secure victory in Townsville, 36-36 in front of 12,775.
North Queensland Cowboys 26 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 36
Venue: Willows Sports Complex
Halftime Score: 12 all
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Trent Hodkinson
2 points - Josh Reynolds
1 point - Robert Lui
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (26)
Tries: Brent Tate, Robert Lui, Dallas Johnson, Clint Greenshields
Conversions: Robert Lui (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Robert Lui (1/1)
CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS (36)
Tries: Ben Barba (2), Trent Hodkinson, Mitch Brown, Tony Williams, Greg Eastwood
Field Goals: Josh Reynolds (0/1)
Conversions: Trent Hodkinson (6/6)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Bulldogs – Josh Morris, Josh Reynolds and Tony Williams IN; Tim Lafai, Joel Romelo and Browne OUT
1 Clint Greenshields 20 Kalifa Faifai Loa 3 Brent Tate 4 Kane Linnett 5 Antonio Winterstein 19 Michael Morgan 7 Robert Lui 8 Matthew Scott (c) 14 Ray Thompson 10 James Tamou 11 Tariq Sims 12 Glenn Hall 13 Dallas Johnson
Interchange: 15 Jason Taumalolo 16 Ashton Sims 17 Scott Bolton 23 Blake Leary
Bulldogs: 1. Ben Barba 2. Mitch Brown 23. Josh Morris 4. Krisnan Inu 5. Sam Perrett 19. Josh Reynolds 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Ennis 10. Sam Kasiano 11. Frank Pritchard 12. Josh Jackson 13. Greg Eastwood 14. Dene Halatau 16. James Graham 17. Dale Finucane 24. Tony Williams
Josh Reynolds kicks a 40/20.
Massive kick from Josh Reynolds, he earns the Bulldogs a 40/20. Scrum feed for the Dogs 15 metres from the Cowboys line
Sam Perrett makes an unforced error.
Knock on against Perrett who failed to take the catch off the last tackle kick
Brent Tate makes an unforced error.
Cowboys tried to push the pass through Brent Tate and it's gone a miss. Scrum Bulldogs, 10m off their line
Greg Eastwood makes an unforced error.
Greg Eastwood hands the ball straight back to the Cowboys as he knocks on from the scrum feed.
Scored by Ben Barba. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Ben Barba backs up in support to take a short pass from Greg Eastwood who managed to break free and sprint 30 metres to the mouth of the posts. The Bulldogs with a run away try to get the points first up tonight. Trent Hodkinson with the conversion from right in front makes no mistake
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6-0
Scored by Brent Tate. Conversion attempt by Robert Lui successful.
Brent Tate scores under the posts after a strong burst from Glen Hall, Robert Lui converts from in front
Scored by Dallas Johnson. Conversion attempt by Robert Lui successful.
Another strong run from Glen Hall on the play previous sets up the Cowboys for their second this time through Dallas Johnson
North Queensland Cowboys 12-6
Scored by Ben Barba. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Ben Barba gets his second try of the match, with some good speed and a convincing dummy he is able to beat the Cowboys defensive line, Hodkinson has no problems with the conversion
Field goal attempt by Josh Reynolds unsuccessful.
Josh Reynolds takes the shot at one point from a long way out but doesn't have the distance or the length
Scored by Clint Greenshields. Conversion attempt by Robert Lui successful.
Clint Greenshields scores after Ben Barba makes a mess on the clean up from a Robert Lui kick,
North Queensland Cowboys 18-12
Michael Ennis makes an unforced error.
Michael Ennis ruled to have knocked on after the ball hit him on the shoulder, tries to argue his case with referee Matt Cecchin but with no luck
Dale Finucane makes an unforced error.
Dale Finucane drops the ball after a flick on from the Bulldogs
Penalty goal attempt by Robert Lui successful.
Robert Lui's penalty attempt from in front successful, pushes the lead out to 8 points
North Queensland Cowboys 20-12
Scored by Mitch Brown. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Mitch Brown scores in the corner after Ben Barba throws a cut out pass, Conversion from Hodkinson goes over after hitting the post
North Queensland Cowboys 20-18
Scored by Tony Williams. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Tony Williams shows too much strength after the opportunity was set up by Josh Reynolds
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24-20
Tony Williams makes an unforced error.
Tony Williams makes an error close to his own goal line
Frank Pritchard makes an unforced error.
Frank Pritchard makes an error and relieving the pressure the Bulldogs were trying to put on the Cowboys defence
Scored by Greg Eastwood. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Greg Eastwood strolls under the posts untouched off a T-Rex offload after Clint Greenshields makes an error from the kick
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 30-20
Scored by Trent Hodkinson. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Trent Hodkinson gets the green lights from the video referees as he dived over through Lui
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 36-20
Scored by Robert Lui. Conversion attempt by Robert Lui successful.
Robert Lui gets the green lights from the video referees somewhat controversially, Lui converts his own try
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 36-26