A dominant first half has set the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys under-20s team up for an impressive 32-14 win over the in-form Canterbury Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground tonight.
Searching for back-to-back wins and to consolidate second spot on the National Youth Competition ladder, the young Cowboys were facing a Bulldogs team out of finals contention but having won their past three matches on the trot.
It looked like that formline was going to continue as the hosts got off to a dream start, with the Cowboys making an error from the kick-off.
Gifted good field position and a full tackle count, the Bulldogs scored in the corner thanks to fullback Josh Bergamin and the Cowboys were chasing from the get-go.
But that early conceded try was to be but a first-half blip on the radar as the Cowboys hit back immediately through centre Enari Tuala – on the end of a searching Bacho Salam run – and then went on to run in four more tries in the period for a commanding 26-6 lead.
The second half was more of a grind for both sides and the team traded tries later in the half before the hosts scored on the final siren for the 32-14 scoreline.
Tuala posted a double as his impressive debut season continues, while Nathan Traill (2), Kalyn Ponga and Marcus Jensen – this week signed to the club’s NRL squad for two seasons – all got amongst the tries.
The win puts the young Cowboys on 35 competition points with a game Saturday week against the 11th-placed Titans remaining.
NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS 32 (Enari Tuala 2, Nathan Traill 2, Kalyn Ponga, Marcus Jensen tries; Kalyn Ponga 4 goals) def CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 14 (Josh Bergamin, Jerry Leasi, Will Kerr tries; Adam Keighran goal) at Belmore Sports Ground.