As North Queensland and Canterbury prepare for a top-four blockbuster in Townsville tonight, Throwback Thursday relives the first notable high-stakes clash between the clubs – the 2004 qualifying final.
The Cowboys, ranked seventh and playing in their first finals match after 10 seasons in the premiership, sprung a 30-22 boilover against the second-placed Bulldogs at Stadium Australia.
The Bulldogs were dealt an early blow when skipper Steve Price was sin-binned for a professional foul, allowing the Cowboys to power out to a 16-0 lead after Luke O’Donnell crossed and winger Matt Sing scored twice from high kicks.
A sizzling Matt Bowen try in the 56th minute pushed the underdogs out to 26-6, but the Bulldogs posted three unanswered touchdowns to draw within four points and set up a grandstand finish.
There would be no fairytales spoilt, however, with Sing completing an incredible hat-trick from yet another cross-field kick and sealing a historic win with just over two minutes remaining.
The Bulldogs went on to win the premiership, however, downing the Sydney Roosters, who eliminated the Cowboys in a thrilling preliminary final.