2001: ROUND 24

vs North Queensland

Match Details
Match Date 18th Aug, 2001
Opponent North Queensland
Result Win
Coach Steven Folkes
Captain Craig Polla-Mounter
Venue Sydney Showground Homebush
Crowd 6,715
Referee Mark Oaten

The Bulldogs have managed to turn around a horror start to scrape home with a scrappy victory over the hapless North Queensland Cowboys in cold and blustery conditions at the Sydney Showground.

With the 30-22 win, the Bulldogs now open up a four point gap over the 3rd placed Knights, but the Sharks will be able to come within 3 with a win over the Broncos tomorrow, which sets the scene for a bumper showdown vs the Sharks for that vital top 2 finish next friday night.

The Bulldogs were able to tackle the two points from the Cowboys; but they had to do it from behind with the Cowboys up 14-6 at halftime. The Cowboys with the wind behind their backs, opened the scoring just 3 minutes into the match with a penalty goal; the Bulldogs had a horror start failing to settle in after the toils of the match vs the Eels in the previous week.

North Queensland further rammed home the Bulldogs lack of intensity in the 15th minute when Paul Bowman was able to side step the defence and power over to score. The conversion was waved away but they moved further ahead with another penalty goal to O'Neill after referee Mark Oaten pulled up Steven Price for a careless high tackle in the 24th.

The Bulldogs were putting themselves under undue pressure with unforced errors and silly penalties, but the Cowboys were unable to capitalise despite the wind behind them and several chances. With seven minutes till halftime the Bulldogs managed to break through with one of their rare attacking opportunities. A penalty put them right on attack and several tackles later a brilliant pass by Anasta put an angle running Glen Hughes through to score besides the posts. El Masri's conversion put the Bulldogs behind 8-6.

But in the shadows of halftime, the Bulldogs made a vital mistake in good field position then compounded their error by giving away a penalty giving the Cowboys one last chance with a minute remaining. A good step by Nathan Fein opened up a hole for Peter Jones to plough through and reach out to score. O'Neill's conversion sent the teams into halftime with North Queensland up 14-6.

The Bulldogs looked certain to score just a few minutes into the 2nd half, but prop Paul Rauhihi was unable to take a tough pass right on the tryline. But it didn't really matter as only five minutes later the Bulldogs got back into the game when Jamie Feeney pushed his way over to score on a risky last tackle dummy half run.

Several minutes later the Bulldogs had the lead when Hazem El Masri intercepted a Glenn Morrison pass inside the Dogs territory. The cowboys had an overlap but El Masri was able to tap the ball forward - recover it in the air - and beat the forwards covering on the inside to score in the corner. El Masri's touchline conversion sailed wide.

The Cowboys levelled with a penalty goal in the 61st but it was only a prelude to a Willie Talau try in the 63rd minute. The Bulldogs were under pressure by the Cowboys but a terrific 40-20 kick by Brent Sherwin ignited the Bulldogs into action. El Masri missed again with the tough conversion.

Minutes later it was Sherwin again as he darted from dummy half then put up a short pass to send Nigel Vagana away. A terrific tackle by Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen cut down Vagana metres short of the line. But it was Sherwin on hand again to turn the play back to the blind with Reardon ploughing over in the corner. The man of the moment Sherwin, took over the kicking duties but his sideline conversion looked good but fell short. The Bulldogs were now looking comfortable at 24-16.

The match was all over in the 72nd minute when Hazem El Masri sailed high to take a Brent Sherwin cross field kick and score in the corner. It was a case of musical chairs for the Bulldogs goalkicking duties with Braith Anasta stepping up and he showed his true all round natural talent to slot it from the sideline despite the windy conditions.

Heading into the final minutes the Bulldogs looked likely to extend their lead but with the attack right on the Cowboys line, Matt Bowen was able to intercept a pass and run 90 metres to score under the posts. The late consolation try was little comfort for the Cowboys who ran out 22-30 losers and continue the fight with Penrith for the wooden spoon.

It was a gallant effort by the cowboys who lost Shaun Valentine in the first half from concussion, and Julian O'Neill was also missing for lengthy periods with an ankle injury. But in the end they were unable to come up with the goods against a Bulldogs side with a strong wind behind them in the 2nd half and a top two finish to play for. The Bulldogs were sparked by the impact off the bench by Brent Sherwin who played a large portion of the match at halfback, while Willie Mason ignited the Bulldogs with strong charges. Bulldogs prop Steven Price is on report for a high tackle.

Source: www.rleague.com

Player Position Tries Goals F Goals Points
Luke Patten Fullback 0 0 0 0
Hazem El Masri Wing 2 2 0 12
Shane Marteene Wing 0 0 0 0
Willie Talau Centre 1 0 0 4
Nigel Vagana Centre 0 0 0 0
Braith Anasta Five Eighth 0 1 0 2
Darrell Trindall Half Back 0 0 0 0
Darren Smith Lock 0 0 0 0
Steve Reardon Second Row 1 0 0 4
Willie Mason Second Row 0 0 0 0
Steve Price Front Row 0 0 0 0
Dennis Scott Front Row 0 0 0 0
Craig Polla-Mounter Hooker 0 0 0 0
Jamie Feeney Replacement 1 0 0 4
Glen Hughes Replacement 1 0 0 4
Paul Rauhihi Replacement 0 0 0 0
Brent Sherwin Replacement 0 0 0 0
Total: 6 3 0 30