North Queensland Cowboys finish strong to win the first NRL match in Bundaberg 28-14 over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 14
Tries: Josh Addo-Carr (1), Matt Burton (18), Kyle Flanagan (51)
Goals: Matt Burton (3)
North Queensland Cowboys 28
Tries: Griffin Neame (30), Chad Townsend (33), Luciano Leilua (63), Scott Drinkwater 2 (68, 75)
Goals: Valentine Holmes (32, 44, 65)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Scott Drinkwater has led the North Queensland Cowboys to a 28-14 win over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in front of a capacity crowd at Salter Over in Bundaberg.
With twenty minutes remaining the Bulldogs held a slender 14-12 lead before Luciano Leilua scored with seventeen minutes to go to put the Cowboys ahead.
Drinkwater scored with five minutes later thanks to Reece Robson’s scoot out of dummy half off a quick play the ball which created momentum.
He would seal the Cowboys fifteenth win of the season with a solo try inside the final five minutes to go.
The Bulldogs played with the wind at their backs in the opening forty and took advantage of a kick-off that went out on the full, with Matt Burton kicking for Josh Addo-Carr to open the scoring in the first minute.
North Queensland almost immediately struck back through a short kick off and Tom Dearden crossing, only to be ruled no try with Kyle Flanagan blocked by a Cowboys decoy runner.
Completing only two from seven in the opening fifteen minutes, the Bulldogs managed to control the ball and thanks to a scrum win off a Murray Taulagi mistake crossed through Burton.
The introduction of Griffin Neame swung the momentum towards the Cowboys at the half-hour mark before Chad Townsend crossed off a Leilua offload three minutes later to level scores at 10-all.
An early penalty goal in the second half to Valentine Holmes put the Cowboys ahead for the first time in the game.
Burton was again the Bulldogs best as he set up Flanagan’s try in the 51st minute, a recipient of an offload from Jacob Kiraz.
The Cowboys appeared to have taken back the lead through Taulagi but on-field decision of no try stood with the pass from Dearden deflecting off Holmes on the way to the winger.
Burton’s kick out on the full with eighteen minutes was quickly pounced on by the Cowboys and Leilua’s try a minute later put them ahead 16-14, before Drinkwater’s double increased the lead to fourteen points at full-time.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Scott Drinkwater (Cowboys), 2 pts – Luicano Leilua (Cowboys), 1 pt – Matt Burton (Bulldogs)
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