Thurston shines as Cowboys beat Bulldogs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thurston shines as Cowboys beat Bulldogs

By Daniel Pace 25/05/2007 09:49:58 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston spearheaded an entertaining 26-16 victory over the Bulldogs in Friday night's NRL clash at Suncorp Stadium.

Just two days after his man-of-the-match performance for Queensland in Origin I at the same venue, Thurston was again the dominant figure in the Reconciliation Cup match played in front of a crowd of 15,412.

The star No.7 set up a brilliant try for electrifying fullback Matt Bowen shortly after the halftime break to give North Queensland an 18-0 lead.

He regathered his own chip kick and off-loaded to Bowen, who showed blinding acceleration in his sprint to the line.

In the 46th minute Thurston slipped a beautiful pass to back-rower Sione Faumuina, who handled twice before scoring a decisive try as the Cowboys skipped to a 24-0 advantage.

Thurston almost stopped a 70th minute try to Andrew Ryan but video referee Tim Mander ruled the Bulldogs skipper just grounded the ball before being taken into touch.

Bowen was outstanding, but unfortunately there appears to be no room for him in the Maroons squad following the return to form of Brisbane custodian Karmichael Hunt.

Thurston added a 60th minute penalty goal - his 19th straight conversion - to give the Cowboys a 20-point buffer but the gritty Dogs fought back with tries to Andrew Emelio and Ryan, the best in a losing side.

The Bulldogs, missing the presence of NSW forward Willie Mason (hamstring), have now suffered three straight losses.

They never gave up but ran out of time as North Queensland posted a much-needed four-tries-to-three win to move into third on the NRL table.

In the only downside for the Cowboys, veteran centre Paul Bowman was taken from the field late in the first half with a shoulder injury.

The Cowboys held a 12-0 lead at the break following tries to Bowen and Shane Tronc in a free-flowing game of football.

Their desperation was on show right to the end, with winger Ty Williams covering plenty of ground to pull off a try-saving tackle on Bulldogs five-eighth Ben Roberts in the dying stages.

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