|Match Date||19th Mar, 2000|
|Venue||Homebush (Stadium Australia)|
NORTH QUEENSLAND captain Noel Goldthorpe said stinging criticism by former coach turned commentator Phil Gould, that the Cowboys players lacked "courage and character" was the catalyst behind their upset win over the Bulldogs yesterday.
It was an enormous relief for Cowboys coach Tim Sheens, who last week offered to stand down following rumours of player dissatisfaction and a month of poor results, including a 50-8 thrashing from Brisbane.
Goldthorpe said the players had also wanted to win the match to reaffirm their support for the embattled Sheens.
Gould defended Sheens’ record as coach in his Sydney newspaper column, saying he should quit rather than put up with the "rubbish" that was going on at the club.
Gould said the reason their form was so inconsistent since their inception into the National Rugby League competition in 1995 was because the team had no talent.
But the Cowboys showed plenty of talent in the first half to outscore the Bulldogs three-tries-to one and then held on after the break to record their second win of the season.
The Cowboys won against Parramatta in round four, but had the two competition points stripped by the NRL for fielding 14 men. The club is appealing the decision.
"We've had a lot -of s..t going on during the week, which hasn't helped our cause." Goldthorpe said, "We got together as players and a couple of remarks by a certain person helped our motivation:
Asked whether he was referring to Gould, Goldthorpe said: “A few guys read it this morning and a few guys watched The Footy Show this morning.”
"We all saw it, heard it and we all got together and said. People are questioning our pride and our courage and so forth' so it was a little bit of motivation for us."
Sheens said he had read Gould's column and while challenging some of the Cowboys' performances over the season was fair comment, challenging the players character had been "pretty tough". "They've had plenty of things thrown at them and they've survived." he said "That pretty well cemented us together this week."
Goldthorpe said the players had also wanted to win the match for Sheens, following rumours that the coach. who is on a five-year contract with the club, had a month to turn around their results, or be shown the door.
"He's been wearing the flak a lot." Goldthorpe said. There's certain people who are out to get him for some reason.
"He's got 100 per cent support from the players here and there are no problem between the players and Tim. The media might think there is, but there's not and there's no better man to have here."
Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes described the game as the most "frustrating he had sat through in a long time" and he had realised the criticism of the Cowboys over the last week could work against his team.
"We certainly weren't at our best." Folkes said. "The perception is we're going to win and no matter how much you tell them (they may not), and how much they tell themselves, there's always this thing in the back of their head that they should win."
The Cowboys looked as though they had a point to prove soon after the kick-off, when a 40-20 kick from Goldthorpe resulted in their first try of the match.
From the ensuing scrum, fullback Tim Brasher charged past some soft marker defence and barged past Bulldogs fullback Rod Silva to score.
The momentum continued as the Cowboys exposed a weakness in the Bulldogs' defensive line for similar long-range tries to Brasher and centre Paul Bowman.
The Bulldogs finally pegged one back through lock Glen Hughes, but any hope of a second-half revival was spoiled by sloppy play from both sides.
Folkes said he thought his team was still a chance when only 10 points down at the break, but the Bulldogs lacked enthusiasm in defence and attack.
"I can't put my finger on why, but we were pretty poor in most areas." Folkes said.
The Cowboys face the Northern Eagles at home next week and Goldthorpe said the team needed to start producing results in Townsville, or risk losing their valuable support base. More than 27000 people turned up at Dairy Farmers Stadium for the Broncos game.Source: The Australian
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|Craig Polla-Mounter||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Ricky Stuart||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Steve Price||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Bradley Clyde||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Troy Stone||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Darren Britt||Front Row||0||0||0||0|