2014: ROUND 20

vs North Queensland

Match Details
Match Date 26th Jul, 2014
Opponent North Queensland
Result Loss
Coach Des Hasler
Captain Michael Ennis
Venue Homebush (ANZ Stadium)
Crowd 9,873
Referee Gerard Sutton
Alan Shortall

A vintage performance from Johnathan Thurston has catapulted the Cowboys into the top eight and broken a 10-year drought against the Bulldogs in Sydney with a victory at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

Statistics painted a grim picture for the Cowboys; the last time they beat Canterbury in Sydney was 3605 days ago in 2004, and it had been eight years since they smuggled two points through quarantine after a game at ANZ Stadium.

But Thurston’s two try assists, 13 kicks for 432 metres and eight points might just be the motivation the Cowboys need if they have to play finals football. After a lacklustre second term against Wests Tigers last Sunday, the Bulldogs were out to make amends.

They attacked the Cowboys’ try line for the final 15 minutes, but some stoic defence put a huge smile on coach Paul Green’s face. Suffocating in a mid-table bottleneck, the Cowboys desperately needed Thurston to orchestrate something special and instil a belief that they can compete in an away semi-final. And create belief he did.

The Cowboys’ James Tamou was taken to hospital for scans on his neck after a swinging arm backfired on James Graham. Sam Perrett was named at fullback by coach Des Hasler an hour before kick-off which meant he and his 19-year-old brother Lloyd got to play alongside each other for the first time.

Meanwhile, Josh Morris’ return to the centres from a re-aggravated knee injury suffered in Origin was put on the backburner for a week.

On the judiciary front, Blues big man Tony ‘‘T-Rex’’ Williams, who slotted into five-eighth, was put on report for a high shot on Robert Lui in a game he would rather erase from the memory bank.

It was an opening period characterised by slopping handling, ill timed passes and poor options. Thurston’s first attacking play came in the 10th minute down the right edge. A ball was given from Kane Linnett and then to winger Matthew Wright who looked destined to score in the corner, before a try-saving tackle from Perrett overturned Gerard Sutton’s on-field decision.

But it was an overlap on the left wing which gifted Mitch Brown the opening try in the 13th minute, courtesy of some quick hands from Greg Eastwood and Moses Mbye.

After a superb driving set, Thurston fed a ball to the right edge, where Michael Morgan flicked a deft pass into the hands of Wright who stepped off his right peg to dive past Williams in the corner.

Four minutes later, Thurston executed a perfect cross-field kick straight into Wright’s bread basket, to put the Cowboys up 10-6, before extending the lead to six a couple of minutes before half-time thanks to a flop on John Asiata 25 metres out from the Bulldogs’ line.

On the back of a repeat set, Thurston was at his trademark best with a centimetre-perfect cut-out pass in the 47th minute to an unmarked Antonio Winterstein who scored his 10th try of the season.

However, Canterbury refused to lie down and showed glimpses of why they are equal second on the ladder, as Tim Lafai made a scything break down the right side. A penalty ensued, which led to Josh Jackson crashing over in the 61st minute to put the boys from Belmore within a converted try, but in spite of a huge effort, they could not bridge the gap in the closing stages.

Source: The Sun Herald

Player Position Tries Goals F Goals Points
Sam Perrett Fullback 0 0 0 0
Mitch Brown Wing 1 0 0 4
Corey Thompson Wing 0 0 0 0
Moses Mbye Centre 0 0 0 0
Tim Lafai Centre 0 0 0 0
Tony Williams Five Eighth 0 0 0 0
Trent Hodkinson Half Back 0 2 0 4
Dale Finucane Lock 0 0 0 0
Josh Jackson Second Row 1 0 0 4
Greg Eastwood Second Row 0 0 0 0
James Graham Front Row 0 0 0 0
Sam Kasiano Front Row 0 0 0 0
Michael Ennis Hooker 0 0 0 0
Reni Maitua Replacement 0 0 0 0
Lloyd Perrett Replacement 0 0 0 0
Pat O'Hanlon Replacement 0 0 0 0
Total: 2 2 0 12