Canterbury Bulldogs vs North Queensland Cowboys: NRL live scores, blog
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Canterbury Vs. Nth Queensland
2012 NRL Premiership Season, 29 July, 2012
|ANZ Stadium, Sydney, NSW|
|Canterbury 32 defeated Nth Queensland 18|
|Referee: Shayne Hayne|
|Touch judges: R Turner & Daniel Eastwood|
The Canterbury Bulldogs clash with the North Queensland Cowboys tonight in a contest pitting two premiership contenders against each other. Join us for live scores and commentary from 5.30pm AEST.
Canterbury have surpassed Melbourne as premiership favourites courtesy of an eight match winning streak that currently sees them alone at the top of the NRL ladder.
Under Des Hasler, the Bulldogs are rolling along nicely and finally possess the right mixture of skill and power to dominate the competition.
In the backline, Ben Barba, Josh Reynolds and Josh Morris are wrecking havoc with the football while upfront, Sam Kasiano, James Graham and Frank Pritchard continue to carve out huge territory when in possession.
All in all, the Bulldogs are clicking in all the key areas, and they will need to do so again tonight if they are to beat the inform Cowboys.
North Queensland sits inside the top four courtesy of its win against the Tigers on Monday night.
Despite struggling to put an injury hit Tigers outfit to bed, the Cowboys eventually got the job done thanks largely to the dynamite performance from fullback Matt Bowen.
Bowen was devastating against the Tigers, making several linebreaks, including one in the first half which saw him beat several defenders before linking up with Kalifi Fai Fai Loa who eventually scored a try in the corner.
Bowen’s battle with Barba tonight promises to be one of the highlights of the NRL season.
Both players are in career best form and both are capable of taking this game by the scruff of the neck if given the space to do so.
Barba has firmly established himself as the NRL’s most dangerous kick returner, given that he has mastered the ability to counter attack from deep inside his own half.
Barba’s recent habit of regathering possession in his in-goal, only to race away and score or set up tries showcases just how good he is of taking advantage of a poor kick chase.
Despite being almost 10 years Barba’s senior, Bowen also remains lethal on the kick return, and his speed off the mark remains second to none, as evidenced when he chased down Billy Slater earlier in the season.
With Bowen and Barba in such fine form, both teams will find it imperative to produce good kicking games tonight.
For the Cowboys, Johnathon Thurston and Ryan Morgan will look to find touch as often as possible in a bid to limit Barba’s influence tonight.
Bulldogs halves Josh Reynolds and Kris Keating will also deploy similar tactics in a bid to keep Bowen quiet.
Of course, a kick is only as good as its chase and both sets of forwards will have to stay on their toes and produce a unified defensive line if either team is a realistic chance of limiting the damage Bowen and Barba inflict tonight.
With both teams fairly evenly matched, the Bulldogs at home may just prove to be too strong, but the Cowboys will certainly test Canterbury tonight before going down valiantly in a cracking contest.
Bulldogs by 6.
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