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The Cowboys continued their stellar season with a hard fought 28-14 victory over the gallant Bulldogs in Bundaberg on Sunday.

The North Queensland playmakers were on song with Chad Townsend and Tom Dearden continuing their superb season and Scott Drinkwater at his attacking best with back-to-back tries, cementing the Cowboys third win on the trot.

An unusual start to the game in Bundaberg saw a successful captain’s challenge hand the Bulldogs an attacking opportunity straight out of the gates and a well weighted Matt Burton grubber found Josh Addo-Carr to open the scoring for the Bulldogs.

Just two minutes later Dearden responded for the Cowboys but the try was disallowed after Valentine Holmes was penalised for obstruction.

Come the 18th minute and the Bulldogs extended their lead to ten when Kyle Flanagan found Burton out of the scrum and the five-eighth sliced through the Cowboys defence almost untouched.

Burton belter in Bundy

Cowboys hit back in the 30th minute when Kiwi forward Griffin Neame crossed over to score with his first touch of the football.

A sustained run of possession for the Bulldogs led to a second try in the 33rd minute when Luciano Leilua offloaded to Townsend.

The No. 7 danced around a couple of Bulldogs defenders from close range to score his first try as a Cowboy and bring the score to 10 points apiece heading into the break.

A penalty against young half Kyle Flanagan for a push on Leilua when the Bulldog was chasing a kick handed Valentine Holmes an easy shot to make it 12-10 to the Cowboys.

Flanagan gets a try

It was Burton's left boot that got Canterbury back into the game in the 51st minute after he put the ball up for winger Jacob Kiraz who flicked the ball to Flanagan who crossed the stripe to make it 14-12 for the hosts.

The Bulldogs dodged a bullet when Cowboy's were disallowed a four-pointer when a ricocheting ball hit Holmes on the shoulder, causing the ball to travel forward into the hands of winger Murray Taulagi.

Mid-way through the second half and it was Leilua who muscled his way through Bulldogs defenders and use his momentum to put the ball down over his head to put North Queensland back in the lead.

It was Drinkwater who iced the victory for the Cowboys in Bundaberg.

The in-form fullback produced back-to-back tries in the final ten minutes of the game to lead the Cowboys to a memorable win at Salter Oval.

Match Snapshot 

  • A kick-chase footrace between Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Josh Addo-Car provided a sneak-peek into the fastest man of the game with the young winger beating the Fox to the ball and denying the Bulldogs a four-pointer.
  • Burton's boot was on show, firing a dropout a colossal 69-metres in the first half.
  • Bulldogs winger Josh Addo-Carr has scored ten tries in his past nine games against the Cowboys.
  • Back-rower Tom Gilbert produced a high quality first half  running for 149 metres and chalking up 20 tackles for the Cowboys.
  • Burton's kicking game came to the fore again for the Bulldogs, kicking the ball 429 metres throughout the match. The five-eighth also chalked up a try, and a try-assist.
  • Scott Drinkwater ran for 183 metres and crossed the chalk twice in a typically committed performance for the Cowboys fullback.
  • The Cowboys have won 13 of their past 15  games.
  • Bulldogs winger Josh Addo-Carr has scored ten tries in his past nine games against the Cowboys.

Play of the Game 

After a slow first-half it was Cowboys skipper Chad Townsend who brought the side back to level. A superb offload from Leilua near the line provided an opportunity for Townsend to dance through Bulldogs broken defence and cross the line for the Cowboys in the 33rd minute. Townsend was in complete control in Bundaberg, finishing the day with three tackle breaks and a line break from eight runs.

Little bit of Luciano magic for Chad

What They Said

“We were in a position to win the game and it’s disappointing we couldn’t get out of our own end in the second half. They were good enough to hold us down and we weren’t good enough to get out of there. If our ball control was a bit better and a couple of decisions were made by us or by others, the outcome at half time could have been a lot different at half time.” - Bulldogs coach Mick Potter.

"I was really happy with how we kept our heads ten-nil down. I thought periods in that second half we were pretty consistent and strong through that midfield, we had two tries taken off us but scored some nice tries in the end. I thought (Taulagi’s try) definitely went backwards. Even Muz (Murray Taulagi) who caught it on the wing had to reach backwards so that says to me it’s gone backwards. But we got what we needed to get done. We got the two points playing against a team who are high on confidence so to get back on the plane with two points in our kit bag, we’re very happy." - Cowboys coach Todd Payten 

What's Next

Both teams will be on the road again with the Cowboys heading to Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday to take on the Roosters and the Bulldogs are off to Auckland to meet with the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.