NRL 2022 Canterbury Bulldogs v North Queensland Cowboys, result, tries, score, Supercoach scores, 3 Big Hits, Matt Burton,
The Cowboys were put to work for a 28-14 victory against a brave Bulldogs side in Bundaberg on Sunday afternoon.
Canterbury were eyeing a major upset when they led 14-12 in the 62nd minute, but second-placed Cowboys class shone in the closing stages.
MATCH CENTRE: Bulldogs v Cowboys, stats, teams, videos
Canterbury started the game by staging the fastest captain challenge in NRL history and it earned them a dream start.
North Queensland kicked off the game and the linesman ruled it would bounce back, but Braidon Burns said he got his hands on it with his foot planted.
The Dogs challenged and replays proved Burns right, handing Canterbury a mid-point penalty that led to the first down.
Burton ran through a grubber and Peta Hiku hesitated just long enough for Addo-Carr to pass and score in the third minute.
Burton then turned goalscorer when he went too strong from close range on the back of a scrum move in the 18th minute.
The Cowboys were rewarded for sustained pressure when striker Griffin Neame burst in from close range in the 31st minute.
North Queensland half-back Chad Townsend had two tries in three minutes when he ducked his head and ducked into the corner.
The Cowboys opened the second half by scoring a penalty to take the lead, but the Bulldogs fought back thanks to Burton’s booming left boot.
Burton caused problems for the back three all afternoon and this time his towering bombshell was rolled up by Jacob Kiraz who unloaded for Kyle Flanagan to score.
North Queensland were controversially denied a go-ahead try in the 58th minute when Val Holmes was ruled to have kicked despite the ball.
But that didn’t matter as the Cowboys regained the lead when Luciano Leilua proved too strong from close range and reached over his head to score.
Leilua got the try although he appeared to produce a double move in the act of scoring.
Cowboys fullback Scott Drinkwater then ran a solid line to put the margin beyond a converted try and he netted a brace in the 76th minute.
Here are three of the game’s biggest talking points.
COWBOYS HOLD THEIR NERVE
The Cowboys proved for the second week in a row that they can stay cool, calm and composed when things don’t go their way.
They trailed 10-0 early against the Bulldogs and trailed 14-12 after 63 minutes, but put their foot down in the final 15 minutes to seal the result.
It was North Queensland’s fourth double-digit comeback this season – the most of any team.
“The good sign is that they’re composed and don’t bend under pressure,” Braith Anasta said on Fox League.
“They’re not uncomfortable in a tight game, they stay confident and keep getting the job done. It’s exactly what you need before the final.
Cooper Cronk praised their defense, while Greg Alexander said rookie Chad Townsend was responsible for the team keeping their cool each week.
“They’ve shown they can react under pressure which is a very good sign in finals football because it’s not you who can win games in finals, it’s how long can you stay in competitions and then come up with a game to win it,” Cronk said.
“They had seven line breaks but only 16 missed tackles, you defend a game for 80 minutes with 16 missed tackles, the opponent is very unlikely to score.”
“I think it’s the influence of Chad Townsend,” replied Alexander.
“The ability to just stay in the game. If they’re not playing great on foot, he just keeps them in position on the pitch and they rely on their defense, and their bench was outstanding today.
“They have depth, class and composure to handle the bad times in the game.”
DRINKING WATER SUPPLIES AGAIN
Cowboys fullback Scott Drinkwater is quickly developing a reputation for delivery with the game on the line.
Drinkwater is having the best season of his fledgling career and delivers again against the Dogs.
The playmaker scored two late tries to seal the result, netting his second brace in as many weeks.
Drinkwater ran 122 yards from 10 carries and made three line breaks to complete his seven tackle busts.
“Again a great performance from Scott Drinkwater, it took him a while today but he was in impressive form and he got better as the game went on,” Braith Anasta said on Fox League.
“He was pretty quiet for a long time but then exploded when the game was on balance, he scored the last two tries and had some touches of class,” Cooper Cronk replied.
Drinkwater revealed that the game plan was to target the Dogs through the middle.
“We talked about going through them and tiring their big boys and playing the balls fast,” he said.
“I think we did it pretty well and I just play out the back of that, it’s easy work.”
Matt Burton’s bombshells are nightmares for NRL full-backs.
The Bulldogs five-eights showed Origin just how deadly their left boot is and it was on display again against the Cowboys.
In the 51st minute, Burton delivered a commanding body kick that was rolled up by Jacob Kiraz who unloaded for Kyle Flanagan to score and put the Dogs ahead.
“Burton’s kick is such a weapon,” Brenton Speed said on Fox League.
“I wonder if he just starts laughing when he hits them good,” Steve Roach said.
Queensland great Billy Moore called Burton’s bombs some of the best he had seen in rugby league history.
And it wasn’t just his bombs, with the chic five-eighth also setting up a try from a grubber and throwing a stall that traveled almost 70 yards on the fly.
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