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The Canterbury Bulldogs have defeated the North Queensland Cowboys 14-6 to win the Reconciliation Cup tonight at ANZ Stadium in front of just under 9,000 fans.
Both teams started positively and each had early opportunities to score. The Cowboys lacked intensity for the majority of the game and were never able to recover from the early deficit created by the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring at the 25th minute mark when Josh Reynolds crossed the line. Taking advantage of some lazy marker defense, Reynolds scooted from dummy half and scored just to the left of the posts. Steve Turner missed a relatively easy attempt at goal after his shot hit the upright.
The Bulldogs managed to extend their lead right on half time after the Cowboys were caught offside in possession. With the halftime siren sounding the Dogs opted for the penalty goal. Turner made no mistake and the home side had a 6-0 lead at half time.
Canterbury started off the second half positively with a try in the 48th minute. Trent Hodkinson hit a massive hole and embarked down field surrounded by team mates. Steve Turner was the lucky recipient of the pass from Hodkinson and scored under the posts. Turner quickly converted his own try.
A silly penalty from the Cowboys allowed the Bulldogs to take a shot at goal in the 56th minute. Steve Turner made no mistake in extending the lead to 14 points from right in front of the posts.
After a number of desperate attacking raids the Cowboys finally managed to trouble the scorers with 10 minutes to go. Ray Thompson took advantage of an overlap on the right hand side and connected with Brent Tate, who managed to score.
A great take from Ben Barba and a knock on from the Cowboys ruled out any chance of a comeback late in the second half and the Bulldogs ran out 8 point victors.
Whilst the Bulldogs were not overly impressive they can take a lot out of their victory tonight and can remain hopeful of a finals appearance. Next week the Bulldogs travel to Toyota Stadium to face an equally desperate Sharks outfit.
The Cowboys will obviously be disappointed with the result and will hope that Johnathon Thurston will be back next week when they face the Broncos at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Canterbury Bulldogs 14 defeated North Queensland Cowboys 6
National Rugby League - Round 22 (Close the Gap Round) - Friday August 5, 2011 7:30pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Jared Maxwell and Gavin Morris
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Gavin Reynolds and Adam Reid
Halftime: Canterbury Bulldogs 6 North Queensland Cowboys 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening and welcome to tonight's match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the North Queensland Cowboys. We're at ANZ stadium tonight and the Dogs will be looking to restore some pride and get a win over the in form Cowboys.
Changes for both teams tonight. Ben Roberts is out for the home side, meaning Josh Reynolds will play five eighth. Trent Cutler is the new man on the bench.
Kalifa Faifai-Loa is out for the Cowboys after failing to recover from the hamstring injury he picked up last week. Will Tupou will take his place on the wing. Glen Hall has dropped off the bench to make way for the returning Scott Bolton and James Tamou will again start the game in place of Ashton Sims.
The Cowboys took out tonight's Toyota Cup curtain raiser -- winning 22-18.
Not far away from kickoff now.
1 min: Bulldogs kick off and we're underway!
1 min: Early penalty to the Cowboys. Idris lay on too long there.
2 min: Another penalty to the Cowboys. Joel Romelo is on report for putting Tariq Sims in a dangerous position.
3 min: Pritchard smashes Ray Thompson and forces an error. Frank is a bit groggy after that effort.
4 min: Bulldogs looking solid in defense early.
5 min: It looks as though Joel Romelo is actually playing five eighth tonight and Josh Reynolds is at hooker. They were named the other way around.
7 min: Nice kick from Joel Romelo finds touch 10m out from the Cowboys line.
9 min: Nice short side raid from the Bulldogs amounts to nothing after Romelo drops the ball.
10 min: Looks like I made a mistake in my earlier report. Matt Scott is out for the Cowboys and Glen Hall is starting in the front row.
12 min: Bulldogs have a scrum on the Cowboys 40 and will be looking for some attacking opportunities.
13 min: The Dogs bombed a try! An ordinary pass from Joel Romelo means Wright can't handle the ball and a try goes begging.
14 min: Aaron Payne catches Kasiano offside at marker and earns a penalty for the Cowboys.
15 min: Will Tupou goes close for the Cowboys but is denied by some strong defense.
17 min: The Bulldogs are allowing the ball to bounce tonight. Jamal Idris is caught accidentally offside as a result.
19 min: Frank Pritchard lands another big shot! Dallas Johnson is the victim in this instance.
20 min: Some great offloading from Tolman and Hodkinson puts Barba in a hole -- but he can't handle the ball. He would have been hard to stop.
22 min: Great run back from Johnathan Wright. Went about 60 meters down field before getting tackled.
23 min: Penalty against the Cowboys for some extra work in the tackle. Bulldogs in a good attacking position now.
25 min: TRY
Josh Reynolds catches out some lazy marker defense and runs from dummy half to score. Turner's conversion attempt hits the upright and is unsuccessful.
Canterbury Bulldogs 4-0
27 min: Segeyaro charges down a Hodkinson kick and manages to regain the ball for his team.
29 min: Another great kick from Hodkinson forces the Cowboys to force it out of their own territory.
30 min: Ashton Sims loses the ball for the Cowboys. Few boys having a bit of a square up.
31 min: Corey Payne loses the ball for the Bulldogs close to the Cowboys' line.
32 min: Barba bobbles the ball trying to take a bomb, but manages to regather the ball. The Bulldogs are looking a little shaky at the back.
33 min: Romelo showing off his best planking maneuver trying to draw a penalty. No luck for Joel.
35 min: It's a game of force em backs at the moment. Both teams jostling for field position.
36 min: Hodkinson tries a cross field chip for Steve Turner but skews it off the side of his boot. Cowboys are looking a little flat right now.
37 min: Big run from Jamal Idris. Breaks a number of tackles and draws a penalty for his team.
39 min: Bulldogs very unlucky not to score again there. A grubber from Hodkinson hits the upright with Barba and Reynolds sweating on the ball. Little knock on from Barba as the ball hits the post.
40 min: Strange penalty against the Cowboys on half time. Players ruled offside whilst in possession of the ball. Turner will take a shot at 2.
40 min: PENALTY GOAL
Turner makes no mistake and extends the Dogs' lead at halftime.
Canterbury Bulldogs 6-0
41 min: We're back for the second half.
41 min: Matt Bowen loses the ball returning a kick. Bulldogs in a great position to start the second half.
42 min: Hodkinson kicks for Steve Turner on the last and the ball sails into touch via the hands of Turner. Cowboys 20m tap.
43 min: Cowboys attacking the Bulldogs line. Lots of second phase play this set.
44 min: Poor kick from Matt Bowen on the last. Kicks for himself but puts way too much on it and it rolls dead.
45 min: Checking a try to the Bulldogs.
45 min: NO TRY! A great kick from Ben Barba is fumbled by Josh Morris over the line.
48 min: TRY
Trent Hodkinson gets put in a hole and makes a big break down field. Surrounded by team mates Hodkinson opted to pass to Steve Turner, who scored under the posts. Turner converts his own try.
Canterbury Bulldogs 12-0
50 min: Tonga flirts with the sideline but manages to stay in play.
52 min: Pritchard is back on for the Dogs and is looking for another big shot. Just misses Gavin Cooper there.
53 min: Greg Eastwood drops the ball. Cowboys will get a scrum inside the Bulldogs' half.
54 min: Enterprising play from the Cowboys on the last but no points are forthcoming at this stage.
55 min: Tamou hits Hodkinson late after kicking the ball and draw a penalty at the 10m line. Andrew Ryan points to the sticks.
56 min: PENALTY GOAL
Turner nails the penalty goal and the Bulldogs go out to a 14 point lead.
Canterbury Bulldogs 14-0
58 min: Sam Kasiano is penalised and placed on report for leading with the knees in a tackle.
59 min: Bulldogs are really aiming up in defense here. Not giving the Cowboys anything.
61 min: Tate loses the ball on his own 20m line. Possible head clash there. Good opportunity for the Bulldogs to extend their lead.
63 min: Barba is showing off his kicking skills tonight - putting through a little grubber and forcing a line drop out for his team.
64 min: Pritchard is just pulled down by Glen Hall in a try saver.
66 min: Cowboys throwing everything at the Bulldogs right now.
67 min: Will Tupou crosses for the Cowboys but is penalised for a double movement.
68 min: Cowboys throwing the ball around now. Desperation sinking in.
69 min: TRY
Ray Thompson takes advantage of an overlap and feeds the ball to Brent Tate, who opens the scoring for the Cowboys. Bowen converts.
Canterbury Bulldogs 14-6
71 min: Awful kick from Ben Jones on the last. Attempted banana kick goes wrong - goes straight to Barba at the back.
73 min: Cowboys appear to have stepped it up a gear now.
75 min: Barba takes a dangerous bomb and saves a try.
76 min: Cowboys on the attack inside the Bulldogs' half.
76 min: Cowboys get 6 more tackles on the Bulldogs' line.
77 min: Payne puts a little kick through for Cory Paterson but Barba knocks it over the dead ball line. Line drop out for the Cowboys.
78 min: Line drop out goes 70m.
79 min: James Tamou knocks on. That should be the game wrapped up for the Bulldogs.
80 min: Romelo kicks into touch to run out the clock.
FULL TIME: The Bulldogs have defeated the Cowboys 14-6.