Full Time
6:15pm Sun April 2, 2023
Round 5 - Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park / Wanngal - Crowd: 9626

Match Overview

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have come from the clouds to force golden point and 15-14 win against the North Queensland Cowboys, a Burton field goal in golden point all that stood between the two sides in 84 minutes of play.

The Bulldogs performance was made more impressive by the fact that injuries reared the ugly head during the game, starting in the third minute when Raymond Faitala-Mariner succumbed to an HIA which would rule him out for the remainder.

The Cowboys would get on the board early, with Peta Hiku making a break to give the side momentum before Tom Dearden kicked into a backfield with no fullback, regathering the ball and touching down for the opening try.

Things got worse for the Dogs when in the 15th minute Jayden Okunbor was sent to the sin bin for a hip drop tackle on Jason Taumalolo. The Cowboys opted to take the two points on offer, extending their lead to 8-points.

Despite the one man disadvantage, the Bulldogs were able to hit right back in the 20th minute. Matt Burton put in a beautiful grubber on the 5th tackle close to the line that rookie back-rower Jacob Preston won the race to. They would go the entire 10 minute period without conceding a try in an early moral victory.

Unfortunately for Canterbury, the rollercoaster continued when a stray finger from Jacob Preston connected with Max King's eye, forcing the front rower off the field and Preston to get his finger taped in a double blow. 

Right on half time, Holmes attempted a two point field goal, but was well short, sending the sides to the sheds with the Cowboys leading 8-6.

The Bulldogs defence was on show in the early stages of the second half, turning the Cowboys away despite being faced with consecutive set restarts. The game was well and truly in the balance when Hayze Perham knocked on in the 59th minute, allowing the Cowboys another prime attacking opportunity. They didn't waste it, with Dearden putting Heilum Luki through a gap and the back-rower then offloading for Tom Chester to score his 2nd career try. 

The conversion made it an 8-point game once again and the Dogs had a huge mountain to climb.

They made progress toward doing so in the 68th minute, with Reed Mahoney throwing a great pass from dummy half to put Jacob Preston over for his second try of the night. Burton's conversion was missed, meaning the Bulldogs needed one more try to win the game.

The Cowboys tried to extend the lead to 6 with a penalty goal two minutes later, but a rare miss from Valentine Holmes kept the score at 14-10. Burton's short side chip'n'chase on the Dogs next possession earned them a repeat set, but a pedestrian kick from Flanagan handed possession right back to the Cowboys. 

With three minutes to play, the Cowboys knocked on 5 metres out from their own line, giving the Bulldogs a prime opportunity to set up a grandstand finish. 

They would do exactly that; they shifted the ball to the left with 30 seconds to go and found an overlap courtesy of some quick hands from Paul Alamoti to Josh Addo-Carr, the latter grounding the ball in the corner to give Burton a shot to win it from the sideline after the siren. 

Burton's kick wasn't convincing off the boot but looked to be coming back just enough before it made contact with the left hand upright, rebounding back towards the sideline and sending the game into golden point.

Neither team managed to get themselves into good enough position to kick a field goal throughout the first 4 minute of golden point, and it looked as though another tie might be on the cards when Burton and Addo-Carr produced some magic. Burton kicked early in the tackle count from his own 30 for Addo-Carr, who took possession of the ball and chipped over the Cowboys fullback's head. He looked to be in for all money, but the ball bounced right back over his head and was dived on by Jacob Preston 25 metres out from the line and an inch away from the sideline. The clock was winding down and Burton was in position for the field goal, which he nailed from 30 metres out while on an angle, more than making up for his earlier missed conversion.

Next week, the Bulldogs take on Souths in their traditional Good Friday clash, while the Cowboys look to get back on track at home against the Dolphins.

3. Matt Burton

2. Jacob Preston

1. Josh Addo-Carr