|Match Date||6th May, 2000|
|Venue||Townsville (Dairy Farmers Stadium)|
If ever the worn-out phrase "the game was tighter than the score indicated" needed another run, Saturday night's bruising, blue-collar encounter was It.
The Bulldogs grafted a 32-12 win over the North Queensland Cowboys, but their coach Steve Folkes was a relieved man afterwards.
Folkes, with the Cowboys' 50-4 home-ground whitewash of St George Illawarra last weekend firmly in the back of his mind, admitted that for most of the match he was not confident of winning, even though the Bulldogs led 20-8 with 10 minutes remaining.
"They played very well last week with the home ground and all, and again this time they put their hands up." Folkes said.
"It was a real contest, especially until half-time (8 all) and for probably 30 minutes of the second half. I was stressed out for that we only got over in the last bit."
That Iast bit was the final five minutes, with the Bulldogs leading 20-12. First Steve Reardon found a gap to make it 24-12 and then prop Dennis Scott plucked the ball, AFL style, from the restart kick and ran 60 metres almost untouched to score and it was 30-12.
Another factor in the Bulldogs victory was the cunning and experience of captain Ricky Stuart, whose ability to kill the momentum of the Cowboys in defence proved telling.
Whenever his side looked to be caving in, Stuart found a way to stop the play.
On one occasion, he released the ball in a tackle and won his side a penalty; another time he held up the play-the-ball just long enough to take the sting out of the attack.
In the second instance, Stuart gave away a penalty when he prevented Scott Prince playing the ball, with the Cowboys metres from the line on their first tackle.
Julian O'Neill kicked the penalty goal but, according to Sheens, Stuart should have been sin-binned — something he said he would be taking up with referees' boss, Peter Louis.
"I would have to say that a more experienced referee would have put him in the bin, that's a sin-bin offence, it ever I have seen one, but he is the captain of the side and a big-name player." Sheens said.
"We questioned him (referee Tony Archer) about it, but he called it that way.
"But I don’t care who you are, that was a sin-bin offence. I can't agree that's not a sin-bin offence."
But Sheens conceded that the incident was no excuse for losing.
“It was our mistakes — our couple of dropped balls in midfield, that cost us," he said.
"They made very few errors and did not have too many of them in their red zone, whereas we came up with a couple of critical errors. That was probably the turning point."Source: The Australian
|Hazem El Masri||Wing||1||0||0||4|
|Brent Sherwin||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Ricky Stuart||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Steve Reardon||Second Row||1||0||0||4|
|Bradley Clyde||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Dennis Scott||Front Row||1||0||0||4|
|Barry Ward||Front Row||0||0||0||0|