Bulldogs v Cowboys: Five key points
The Cowboys showed they are more than just a one-man team with a clinical 30-14 win over the Bulldogs to continue their recent dominance over the men in blue and white.
Morgan silences his critics
His inclusion on the Kangaroos bench raised plenty of eyebrows, and his probable Maroons selection has been the centre of water cooler talk, but Cowboys five-eighth Michael Morgan sent a gentle reminder to armchair critics of just how good he can be. People have been waiting for Morgan to take control of a side desperately in need of a chief playmaker with Johnathan Thurston on the sidelines, and after attracting plenty of criticism Morgan produced his best game of the season to lead the Cowboys to a crucial win on the road. The representative utility set up the game's first try with a well-weighted chip kick and then produced his trademark guile near the line to double his side's early advantage. Morgan's hot start continued when he set up Coen Hess with an angled grubber to kill off the contest before half-time and then repeated the dose eight minutes after the break to set up the State of Origin bolter for his second of the night.
Hess goes top
Hess's double saw the big man join Suliasi Vunivalu, James Roberts and Jordan Rapana at the top of the leaderboard with eight tries in 2017. It's an incredible achievement for the powerhouse back-rower whose efforts are more impressive when you consider six of his eight tries have come when he started from the bench. Hess has shown he is virtually unstoppable from close range but he added a different string to his bow with the young gun racing through to ground a pair of Morgan grubbers to notch his third double of the season.
Feldt breaks his drought
It's taken a while but Kyle Feldt has finally broken his 2017 try-scoring drought. The Cowboys winger has had no issues finding the line over the years but was held scoreless for the first nine rounds as the Cowboys struggled for attacking fluency in the key positions. It took Feldt just seven minutes to touch down courtesy of a pinpoint Michael Morgan kick early in the tackle count. It wasn't as glamorous as the four-pointer the pair combined for on basically the same blade of grass to send the 2015 grand final into extra-time, but it's a huge weight off the shoulders of a man renowned for sniffing out a try.
Cowboys set new record
They might have been perennial whipping boys in their formative years but the Cowboys now boast their longest winning streak against the men in blue and white. Thursday's result was their fifth win on the trot over the Bulldogs, bettering their four-game stretch from 2007-08. They've also now five in a row at ANZ Stadium after losing their previous nine matches at the venue.
Brenko Lee emerges as chief playmaker
It's not often a centre – let alone a player who only joined the club in the pre-season – shoots out to be the team's runaway try assist leader after 10 rounds. But that's exactly what's happened at the Bulldogs with new recruit Brenko Lee miles in front of his teammates when it comes to creating opportunities for others. Lee started the round with seven try assists and added an eighth to his tally when he produced a miracle offload to set up Kerrod Holland. Worryingly, Josh Morris was the only other Bulldog to have multiple try assists heading into the game.