Full Time
80:00
6:15pm Sun March 13, 2022
Round 1 - Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville - Crowd: 12640

Match Overview

The Canterbury Bulldogs are in the NRL top 8 for the first time since 2017 following their scrappy 6-4 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.

Despite not being an NRL classic, there were a few highlights in what could only be described as a dumpster fire of a game (sorry Cowboys and Dogs fans).

The first half was a drab affair although the Cowboys were able to score inside 15 minutes when Tom Gilbert backed up some good work from Tom Dearden and Murray Tualagi to score. Valentine Holmes pushed the conversion away.

The start of a new season saw Jack Hetherington reunited with the Sin Bin after 20 minutes though at least in good news for Jack it was as a result of repeated ten metre infringements and not a high tackle that Ben Cummins gave him his marching orders.

Both sides had chances but humid conditions meant that neither team could fully execute their attacking plans and the Cowboys lead 4-0 at the break despite a chance on the stroke of half-time for the Bulldogs that was knocked back by the referee and bunker.

A half-time chat between Ben Cummins and Josh Jackson about the lopsided penalty count (it was 8-2 at the break) seemed to work for the Bulldogs as they were able to get two penalties in quick succession and put the Blue and White into good field position.

The Bulldogs were able to put their field position into use eventually when a great tip on from Braidon Burns found Jayden Okonbur who scored out wide for Canterbury. New recruit Matt Burton nailed the conversion from the sideline to give the Bulldogs a 6-4 lead with 25 minutes to play.

The last twenty minutes would have been a nervous watch for the Bulldogs fans who have done it tough and, in a game, where ball security was questionable, the Bulldogs losing players to concussion wouldn't have helped their fans.

If there was ever a gif that summed up a moment, it would've been the Ralph Wiggum heart-breaking gif for Bulldogs fans when in the final two minutes Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow scored after Coen Hess outjumped Matt Dufty and tapped it back to the 'Hammer' who scored.

Canterbury fans got a second life though, when the try was overturned by Steve Chiddy in the bunker after it was ruled that Tabuai-Fidow was offside and the try would not stand. The Bulldogs held on for the remaining two minutes to hold onto the 6-4 victory.

Next week, the Bulldogs have the Sunday night spot once again, this time against the Broncos - whilst the Cowboys stay in Townsville with the Raiders travelling to take them on Saturday.

3. Tom Gilbert

The Cowboys youngster had a very solid game making good metres

2. Luke Thompson

Ran for 130m+ and made 46 tackles

1. Max King

Made a big impact off the bench