The young Bulldogs made a number of changes, notably the return of Captain Moses Mbye after he made an appearance in the NSW Cup last weekend. Regular fullback Patrick Templeman was a late withdrawal with Jaline Graham coming in to replace him.
The changes didnt seem to disrupt the side with the first points being scored off the back of a penalty that marched the side down field. There was nothing fancy throughout the set and a simple short pass from Blake Carter to Jack Creighton saw the lock forward crash over next to the right hand upright. Ryan Wilson took over the kicking duties and converted to put the visitors out to an early 4-nil lead after five minutes.
It was the Cowboys who opened their account shortly after in the 13th minute. A penalty put the home side in good field position and after the Bulldogs were able to keep them out on their first attempt, it was on the second that the Cowboys went over. A quality pass from Sam Foster to Javid Bowen sent the centre across. Foster converted to level the scores at 6-all.
The next period of the match was quite scrappy with both sides struggling to hold on to the ball but it was in the 37th minute that the Bulldogs were able to take advantage of the tiring legs out there. A nice set play was sent out to the right and it was the strength and angled run from David Minute that saw him crash over next to the posts. Wilson again converted to put the visitors back into the lead 12-6.
Just one minute before the break the Cowboys were able to take advantage themselves with centre Lenny Magey crashing over in the south-western corner. Foster couldnt convert with the Bulldogs holding on to a slender lead of 12-10 as they headed for the sheds.
The second half started with both sides registering a try each. The home side were first to do so through Bowen who scored his second, which was then converted by Foster and put the Cowboys in front.
Minutes later the Bulldogs answered back through halfback Jaline Graham who put a massive fend on his opposite and ran 60m to score in the north-western corner. Wilson brilliantly converted from the sideline to then put the blue and whites in front, 18-16.
In the 56th minute it was the Cowboys who went over through Samsen ONeill with the try not being converted by Foster with the score now 20-18.
It continued to be tit for tat with the Bulldogs scoring through Tommy Backhouse and Wilson ended with a perfect night with the boot to put the young pups back in front 24-20 with 10 minutes remaining.
With just three minutes remaining it was the home side who worked down field and managed to send Bowen across for his hat-trick. Foster had the chance to put the home side in front but hooked his conversion attempt and left the scores level at 24.
The final three minutes was played out with neither side being able to break the oppositions line and the final siren sounded with both sides taking away a point each from the match.
BULLDOGS 24 (Creighton, Minute, Graham, Backhouse Tries; Wilson 4 Goals)
COWBOYS 24 (Bowen 3, Magey, ONeill Tries; Foster 2 Goals)
At: 1300Smiles Stadium, Townsville