Full Time
5:30pm Sat March 4, 2023
Round 1 - Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville / Wulgurukaba - Crowd: 19855

Match Overview

A 76th-minute field goal has saved the Cowboys on a night where Canberra nearly came back and won at Queensland County Bank Stadium; North Queensland 19-18 winners in the first round.

The home team absolutely dominated early proceedings, and although they didn't have it all their way at first. After several false dawns (including a missed penalty goal from Holmes in the 11th minute), the Cowboys finally crossed out wide through Murray Taulagi after 15 minutes and for the rest of the half, the Raiders found themselves on the back foot.

Scott Drinkwater backed up the Taulagi try just two or three minutes later; and with Holmes' conversion the momentum was well and truly with the home team.

At the 24 minute mark, on the back of mounting pressure it was a Val Holmes penalty goal which pushed the lead to 12 points.

A second try for Drinkwater six minutes from halftime saw the lead extend further and further dented the Raiders' hopes of getting into the contest, but only minutes later an error from the Cowboys, compounded by a six-again call saw the Raiders push deep into North Queensland territory for the first time since the early minutes.

On the back of that possession, Emre Guler stumbled over some pretty feeble defence and in the shadows of halftime, a glimmer of hope was restored for the Green Machine.

The second half was a mirror of the first - Canberra dominated possession and field position, but couldn't crack the Cowboys' line until the 53rd minute when Tom Starling collected a rebound from his own grubber and dodged defenders to narrow the margin to six.

Five minutes later scores were level after a poorly received bomb ended up in Jack Wighton's arms near the Cowboys line, the Canberra five-eighth sprinting a short distance to score in the corner.

The next 15 minutes were a war of attrition, the Raiders largely with the upper hand, but with five minutes remaining, Chad Townsend found himself in front of the Canberra posts and potted a one-pointer to sneak the home team ahead.

Try as they might, the Raiders were unable to level proceedings in the minutes remaining, or pull ahead, and the Cowboys hung on for victory. The Green Machine will lick their wounds and head south to Redcliffe to face new boys the Dolphins next Saturday, while the Cowboys have a derby contest with Brisbane on Friday night at Suncorp.

3. Chad Townsend

2. Scott Drinkwater

1. Jamal Fogarty