The Cowboys hit back with two quick tries over the next five minutes. The first came in the seventh minute with Ashley Graham diving over in the corner before Glenn Hall muscled his way over three minutes later. Johnathan Thurston converted both tries.
The Cowboys continued to dominate the Raiders as the half progressed, running in tries in the 20th, 30th and 40th minutes to take a 30-6 lead into the break.
The second half appeared set to go in the same direction as the first when Kane Linnett scored a soft try in the 49th minute. However, the Raiders hit back five minute later through Dugan who produced a brilliant solo try.
The Raiders were over again in the 65th minute through Blake Ferguson.
The Raiders were given a handful of opportunities to reduce the Cowboys hold on the game but struggled to execute their plays before the Cowboys scored a try on full-time.
Tonight's win sees the Cowboys right on the edge of the top four, if the Bulldogs lose to the Storm tomorrow by six-points or more the Cowboys will replace them in the top four.
As for the Raiders, things keep getting worse for them with Dugan joining their casualty ward. The star fullback was stretchered off in the 77th minute with an ankle injury. The Raiders have already lost Terry Campese for the season and the loss of Josh Dugan would sink any hopes of a revival to their season.
North Queensland Cowboys 40 defeated Canberra Raiders 18
National Rugby League - Round 16 - Saturday June 23, 2012 5:30pm
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Referee: Brett Suttor and Alan Shortall
Video Referee: Pat Reynolds
Touch Judges: Michael Wise and Nick Beashel
Halftime: North Queensland Cowboys 30 Canberra Raiders 18
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (40)
Tries: Ashley Graham, Glenn Hall (2), Scott Bolton, Antonio Winterstein, Kane Linnett, Ray Thompson
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (5/6), Matt Bowen (1/1)
CANBERRA RAIDERS (18)
Tries: Josh Dugan, Jarrod Croker, Blake Ferguson
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (3/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening folks and welcome to Dairy Farmers Stadium where the North Queensland Cowboys take on the Canberra Raiders.
The home side have announced one personnel change, Matt Scott is out, Rick Thorby comes off the bench and will start in the front row, with Cory Paterson added to the bench.
For the Raiders, Bronson Harrison is out and will be replaced by Trevor Thurling.
1 min: Brett Suttor blows time on and the ball looks like it's going to sail over the dead ball line, but Johnathan Thurston gets a hand to it and knocks it over the line. Line dropout.
2 min: Josh Dugan is caught with the ball on the last and Cowboys are off the hook.
4 min: Jarrod Croker may have a try here after the Raiders run it on the last from halfway.
5 min: TRY
TRY Raiders! The try is awarded, and Croker converts his own try.
Canberra Raiders 6-0
5 min: David Shillington knocks on from the kick off and the Cowboys will go on the attack.
6 min: Possible try to the Cowboys.
7 min: TRY Northern Storm
TRY! The Cowboys spread it out wide and Ashley Graham scores in the corner. Thurston adds the extras.
8 min: The Raiders send it out on the full from the kick off.
10 min: TRY
TRY! Matt Bowen draws in a couple of defenders before putting Glenn Hall in a gap, Hall powers his way over. Thurston's conversion attempt is successful.
North Queensland Cowboys 12-6
11 min: The Raiders concede a penalty and the Cowboys will get a piggyback up the field.
13 min: Graham is pinned for a knock on and the Raiders are off the hook.
14 min: The Raiders receive their first penalty of the night and will go right on the attack.
15 min: Cowboys are off the hook after a strong defensive set.
16 min: The Cowboys are only 20 out from the Raiders' line after a break by Kane Linnett.
17 min: Bowen forces a line drop out.
21 min: TRY
TRY! The Cowboys spread it out wide through Linnett and Bowen, Bowen passes out wide to Antonio Winterstein who steps through the defence to score. Thurston adds the extras
North Queensland Cowboys 18-6
25 min: Linnett knocks on only 20 metres out from his own line and the Raiders will get a shot at the Cowboys' try line.
25 min: Josh McCrone throws a hospital pass on tackle two and the Cowboys are off the hook.
27 min: Edrick Lee spills a Thurston bomb and the Cowboys will go on the attack.
28 min: Raiders concede a penalty.
31 min: TRY
TRY! Hall catches the Raiders' defence napping and crashes over for his second. Thurston's conversion attempt is successful.
North Queensland Cowboys 24-6
33 min: The Raiders will get a scrum 40 out from the Cowboys' line.
34 min: McCrone grubbers into the in goal on the last but puts a little too much on it and it bounces dead.
34 min: The Cowboys get a penalty.
35 min: The Cowboys find some space through Brent Tate, and Dimitri Pelo gets his hand to a Tate pass and knocks it on. Cowboys scrum 10 metres out.
36 min: Linnett knocks on and the Raiders are off the hook.
37 min: Raiders receive a penalty and will go on the attack.
38 min: Aaron Payne grams an intercept and streaks away before collapsing only a few metres from the try line.
38 min: Bowen forces a line drop out.
40 min: TRY
TRY! Ray Thompson runs 20 metres to score after Croker slips over. Thurston adds the extras after the hooter sounds.
North Queensland Cowboys 30-6
41 min: Dane Tilse takes the first hit up of the half after Thurston gets us underway.
45 min: Reece Robinson knocks 35 out from his own line and the Cowboys will go on the attack.
46 min: The Cowboys receive a penalty and the Raiders make it worse for themselves with some backchat.
47 min: Possible try to the Cowboys here.
49 min: TRY
TRY! Bowen runs across field to create an overlap before spreading the ball out wide to Linnett who scores in the corner. Thurston's conversion attempt is unsuccessful.
North Queensland Cowboys 34-6
51 min: Croker loses the ball a few metres out from his line.
51 min: Tate knocks on and the Raiders will get a scrum 10 out from their own line.
52 min: The Raiders get a penalty and should go on the attack here.
54 min: TRY
TRY! Dugan takes on the Cowboys' defence and spins away from some would be defenders and scores. Croker adds the extras.
North Queensland Cowboys 34-12
55 min: The Raiders are pinned for a forward pass and the Cowboys will go right on the attack.
56 min: The Cowboys are pinned for an incorrect play the ball and the Raiders will go on the attack.
57 min: Matt McIlwrick is caught with the ball on the last a few metres out from the line.
59 min: Croker fumbles the ball and the Cowboys will get a scrum 30 out from their own line.
61 min: The Raiders get a penalty but Dugan fails to find touch and the Raiders will go on the attack.
62 min: Michael Morgan knocks on for the Cowboys and the Robinson scoops up the ball 30 out from his own line.
63 min: Raider get six again after a Thurston charge down.
65 min: TRY
TRY! The Raiders spread it out wide through McCrone, the ball finds Blake Ferguson who bounces out of a few tackles before crashing over to score. Croker adds the extras.
North Queensland Cowboys 34-18
66 min: Shillington knocks on for the Raiders and the Cowboys will have an opportunity to back.
66 min: Dugan is pinned for a high shot and the Cowboys will get another six.
67 min: Bowen knocks on for the Cowboys and the Raiders are off the hook.
71 min: The Raiders get a penalty and will go on the attack.
72 min: Josh Papalii sends a pass into touch and the Cowboys survive.
73 min: Cowboys are on the attack after a break by Bowen.
73 min: Dugan diffuses a Thurston cross-field kick a few metres out from his line.
74 min: Linnett pulls off a one-on-one strip on halfway, Cowboys will go on the attack again.
77 min: The Raiders survive another raid on their line, but Dugan is down with an injury.
77 min: Dugan is being stretchered off the field, it looks like an ankle injury.
78 min: The Raiders receive a penalty and another chance to go on the attack.
80 min: The Cowboys receive a penalty and will get one last opportunity to add some points.
80 min: TRY
TRY! Payne slips a short ball out to Scott Bolton who scores on the stroke of full-time.Thurston adds the extras to take the Cowboys score out to 40. A deserved win for the Cowboys, who despite a patchy second-half performance were on-top for much of the match.
North Queensland Cowboys 40-18