ROUND 22 - 2006

Date 5th Aug 2006
Venue Townsville Stadium
Coach Steve Folkes
Captain Andrew Ryan
Referee Paul Simpkins
Crowd 20486
Bulldogs V Cowboys
54 14
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Scorers

Player Tries Goals F Goals Points
Hazem El Masri 1 9 0 22
Andrew Emelio 2 0 0 8
Sonny Bill Williams 2 0 0 8
Trent Cutler 1 0 0 4
Reni Maitua 1 0 0 4
Luke Patten 1 0 0 4
Willie Tonga 1 0 0 4

Match Review

TEAM LINE-UP:

1. Luke Patten, 2. Hazem El Masri, 3. Andrew Emelio, 4. Willie Tonga, 5. Trent Cutler, 6. Daniel Holdsworth, 7. Brent Sherwin, 8. Mark O'Meley, 9. Tony Grimaldi, 10. Roy Asotasi, 11. Willie Mason, 12. Andrew Ryan, 13. Reni Maitua.
Interchange: 14. Sonny Bill Williams, 15. Corey Hughes, 16. Chris Armit, 17. Nate Myles

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Source: AAP

The Bulldogs reaffirmed their standing as strong NRL contenders and sent North Queensland's finals hopes tumbling with a powerhouse 54-14 win.

Prop Roy Asotasi led during the opening stages before Reni Maitua and Sonny Bill Williams took over to edge the Bulldogs closer towards a top-two finish in the competition.

The win took the Bulldogs to 32 points, six behind runaway leader Melbourne, and left the Cowboys (22 points) in danger of dropping out of the top eight should Canberra or Penrith win on Sunday.

North Queensland's woeful defence let it down for the second successive week, the Cowboys conceding 30 points in the opening half.

The onslaught continued after halftime with centre Andrew Emilio touching down for his second try of the night in the 46th minute following a brilliant flick pass from Hazem El Masri.

Emilio got the Bulldogs away to a dream start when he crossed in the fifth minute before the score doubled eight minutes later through a try to Maitua.

Maitua, targeted by the Cowboys in free agency earlier this year, brushed off five defenders - including representative players Luke O'Donnell and Mitchell Sargent - as he powered to the line.

Three more tries through Williams, Luke Patten and Willie Tonga in the final seven minutes of the opening half blew the score-line out to 30-0 and had pundits reaching for the record books.

Desperate to avoid a record defeat on home soil, the Cowboys responded to Emilio's second with two tries of their own in the space of three minutes.

Mark Henry, who scored a double last week, added to his career tally in the 57th minute while Ashley Graham closed the margin to 36-8 with a try shortly after.

North Queensland prop Matt Scott added a consolation try in the 70th minute with Brent Sherwin sin-binned.

El Masri's try in the 75th minute and nine goals handed him a tally of 22 points for the game while Trent Cutler's four pointer with two minutes remaining pushed the Bulldogs past the half-century.

The Cowboys' injury toll continued to rise after skipper Travis Norton left the field during the early stages of the second half with a recurrence of a shoulder injury.

Norton passed a fitness test on his shoulder only Friday.

Already on the sidelines were Paul Bowman (neck), Josh Hannay (back), Robert Tanielu (neck) and Johnathan Thurston (knee).

With four rounds remaining, the Bulldogs should be able to cement a top two finish with a win over St George Illawarra next weekend.

The top two teams are guaranteed a second chance should they slip-up in the opening week of the finals series.

Data provided by Clint Crofts