A tough week following Ben Barba’s dramatic fall from grace off the field was complete as North Queensland strolled to a 24-12 victory in Round 1 this season.
The night started poorly for the home side, with Steve Turner dropping a bomb at the end of the first set of the night and Ashley Graham scooping up the scraps to make it 4-0 inside the opening minute. To their credit, Canterbury hit back quickly with Josh Reynolds running the ball to the right and capitalising on a fortunate rebound to score before another lucky deflection allowed Turner to cross and make it 12-4 midway through the opening half.
But a clever run from Thurston saw Gavin Cooper crash over and the Cowboys were back in front when he put a perfectly weighted grubber in for Antonio Winterstein to score.
Leading 18-12 at the break, North Queensland buckled down in the second half to resist some early Canterbury challenges and scored the only try of the stanza when Matt Bowen lofted a pass out for Graham to score his second of the night.
Although possession was split at 50 per cent, it was North Queensland’s forwards that proved the difference, with the Cowboys running for 1403 metres to Canterbury’s 1252.
Tamou ran for 161 metres and Scott 143, while Michael Ennis made 143 metres for the Bulldogs.