Cowboys snuff the Dragons' fire
North Queensland put a dent in St George's Australian Rugby League Premiership finals campaign with an historic 24-20 win over the Dragons yesterday. The win was the Cowboys' first ever victory in Sydney and has left Saints in trouble one round before the finals. Saints, who looked certain to finish in the top eight a week ago, must now beat the Western Reds in Perth next week to clinch their spot. 'We have put pressure on ourselves needlessly,' an angry Saints coach David Waite said. 'We played poorly and deserved the result.' The Cowboys charged to an early 16-0 lead before Saints levelled the scores at 16-all midway through the second half. But the Cowboys found another gear in the final 20 minutes.
Manly full-back Matthew Ridge equalled the club scoring record in his team's 42-12 defeat of Western Suburbs. Ridge scored two tries and booted 11 goals for a tally of 30 points to match Ron Rowles' record set in 1954. Wests' loss has left the Magpies in danger of missing a top eight berth, with the club needing to beat Illawarra next week and rely on other results to scrape through.
North Sydney skipper Jason Taylor also reeled in the points in his side's easy 46-4 win over Souths. Taylor finished with 26 points from three tries and seven goals in the Bear's impressive win. Canterbury needed a field goal from outgoing skipper Terry Lamb to beat South Queensland 17-16. In the second last match of his long career, Lamb booted the late winner after the Bulldogs had trailed for most of the game. Illawarra continued their fine late-season form with a 42-2 thrashing of Penrith.
Winger Rod Wishart and former Test forward Brad Mackay each scored two tries as the Steelers tore apart the Penrith defence. And Brisbane was too strong for Gold Coast, downing the Chargers 38-10 in Brisbane. Skipper Allan Langer led the Broncos' rout, scoring two tries himself and laying on four others. Newcastle kept their finals hopes alive with a scrappy 24-20 win over the Western Reds. The Knights trailed 12-0 early on before half-back Andrew Johns got them back on track.