The score line flattered the Cowboys who were dominated in both possession and territory as the Raiders had 59% of the ball. Only a late try to Ben Farrar gave the Cowboys any hope but Canberra showed composure to clinch their first win of the season.
The Raiders started on fire as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the opening fifteen minutes to stun a lacklustre Cowboys outfit. Nigel Plum was the beneficiary of a dominant Raiders pack as he scored off a quick play-the-ball in the fifth minute.
A comedy of errors from the Cowboys ensued as they spread the ball wide off a scrum on their 10m line. Matt Bowen dropped the ball and Jarrod Croker pounced to score the Raiders second. Johnathan Thurston then kicked the ball out on the full off the restart and Adrian Purtell finished off a slick short side play off the penalty tap.
The Cowboys went some way in stemming the tide through a fortunate try to Travis Burns. Burns grubbered through for himself on the second tackle and after Terry Campese couldn't collect the football Burns regathered to score.
The Raiders continued to dominate as their forwards laid the platform for Marc Herbert to show some individual brilliance to step through the line and hand the ball off for Joe Picker. The try just before half time gave Canberra a 20-6 lead into the sheds.
Cowboys fans would have been confident their team could make a comeback with the likes of Thurston and Matty Bowen in their team but their two strike players had a frustrating night as their forwards couldn't lay the platform.
North Queensland eventually scored through John Williams with twenty minutes remaining and when they scored again through Farrar with four minutes to go they had a chance at stealing the win.
Canberra held on for a deserved win as Campese kicked a field goal with a minute remaining to wind down the clock.
The victory remarkably leaves Manly as the only team without a win in 2009.
Injury news out of the match sees Plum with rib cartilage damage and Troy Thompson came off in the first half with an injured ankle.
Match Details Canberra Raiders 23 def North Queensland Cowboys 18 Round 4 - April 6th, 2009 3:00pm Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra Referee: Tony Archer & Steve Lyons Sideline Officials: Steve Chiddy & Paul Holland Video Referee: Bill Harrigan Half time: Raiders 20 - 6
Canberra Raiders 23 Tries: Nigel Plum, Jarrod Croker, Adrian Purtell, Joe Picker Field Goals: Terry Campese (1/1) Goals: Terry Campese (3/5) North Queensland Cowboys 18 Tries: Travis Burns, John Williams, Ben Farrar Goals: Johnathan Thurston (3/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Josh Miller (Raiders) 2 Points: Alan Tongue (Raiders) 1 Point: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (Raiders)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Hello and welcome to tonight's live coverage of Round 4's instalment of Monday Night Footy. The Canberra Raiders will take on the North Queensland Cowboys in cool conditions at Canberra Stadium.
North Queensland- Steve Southern comes onto the bench in jersey 19 for the Cowboys. Manuokafoa and Rapira drop off the extended bench.
Following these changes the teams will line-up as such:
Canberra Raiders: 1 Josh Dugan, 2 Adrian Purtell, 3 Jarrod Croker, 4 Joel Monaghan, 5 Justin Carney, 6 Terry Campese, 7 Marc Herbert, 8 David Shillington, 13 Alan Tongue [c]. , 10 Josh Miller, 11 Joe Picker, 12 Bronson Harrison, 17 Nigel Plum Subs: 9 Stuart Flanagan 14 Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, 15 Trevor Thurling, Glen Turner
North Queensland Cowboys: 1 Matt Bowen, 2 John Williams, 3 Ashley Graham, 4 Ty Williams, 5 Ben Farrar, 6 Travis Burns, 7 Johnathan Thurston [c], 8 Shane Tronc, 9 Aaron Payne , 10 Antonio Kaufusi, 11 Carl Webb, 12 Ben Harris, 13 Luke O'Donnell. Subs: 14 Clint Amos, 15 Scott Bolton, 16 Matt Scott, 19 Steve Southern
Josh Dugan will make his much awaited debut for the Raiders at fullback while Neil Henry returns to Canberra for the first time as an opposing coach.
1 min: KICKOFF! Canberra kick off through Campese and the Cowboys have first use of the football.
4 min: PENALTY Canberra. The Cowboys are penalised for holding the man down after a good run from Scott Logan. Canberra tap 30m out.
5 min: TRY Canberra Raiders Campese takes the ball from a quick play-the-ball on the Cowboys line and gives a line ball for Nigel Plum who crashes over. Perfect start for the Green Machine. Conversion attempt by Terry Campese successful. Canberra Raiders 6-0
10 min: PENALTY Cowboys. Alan Tongue penalised for throwing the ball off the ground.
10 min: SCRUM Canberra. Thurston doesn't find touch off the penalty and looks to make amends with a 1-on-1 strip but loses the ball forward in the process. Canberra scrum 35m out.
12 min: SCRUM Cowboys. Campese loses the ball cold and Nth Qld have a scrum 10m from their line.
12 min: TRY Canberra Raiders Canberra in again after an unforgivable error. The Cowboys shift the ball wide off a scrum on their 10m line and Matt Bowen drops a pass under pressure from Purtell. The ball bounces into the hands of Croker and he dives over. Conversion attempt by Terry Campese unsuccessful. Canberra Raiders 10-0
14 min: PENALTY Canberra. Bad to worse for the Cowboys as Thurston kicks the ball out on the full off the restart.
15 min: TRY Canberra Raiders Can you believe this from the Raiders! Campese takes the tap off the penalty and runs the ball down the short side before giving it to Croker who draws defenders before unleashing Purtell down the flank to score in the corner. Conversion attempt by Terry Campese unsuccessful. Canberra Raiders 14-0
19 min: PENALTY Cowboys. The Cowboys get their first opportunity of the game as they have a tap 20m from the Raiders line.
20 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys The Cowboys extremely lucky as Travis Burns kicks a grubber through for himself on the 2nd tackle. Fortune favours the brave as Campese can't clean up and Burns regathers to score. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. Canberra Raiders 14-6
25 min: Campese runs it on the last thinking he has Matt Scott offside but all he makes is 5m and the Cowboys will get the ball.
26 min: SCRUM Canberra. Shane Tronc puts down a simple pass and Canberra have a scrum on their 40m line.
27 min: Campese sends a poor kick across field and Monaghan collects the ball. With not much doing Monaghan beats some tacklers and offloads inside to Herbert who passes to the wing for Carney but with the line wide open he loses the ball.
30 min: Learoyd-Lahrs makes a powerful 25m run to put Canberra on the attack.
31 min: PENALTY Cowboys. Learoyd-Lahrs penalised for a grapple on Payne and Nth Qld have a tap 40m from Canberra's line. Not much in it.
33 min: PENALTY Canberra. Some quick dummy-half running gets Canberra on a roll and the Cowboys are eventually penalised for offside. Canberra tap 35m from Nth Qld's line.
34 min: Goal-line Dropout Cowboys. Herbert stabs a grubber into the Cowboys in-goal and Farrar is wrapped up.
36 min: TRY Canberra Raiders Some individual brilliance from young Herbert as he steps through the tackle of Burns and lays the ball off for Picker who scores under the posts. Conversion attempt by Terry Campese successful. Canberra Raiders 20-6
INJURY- Nigel Plum on the bench with ice on his rib cage. Trevor Thurling limping up the tunnel with a right ankle problem.
38 min: PENALTY Canberra. The Cowboys caught offside again giving Canberra another opportunity to score as they have a tap 40m from Nth Qld's line.
HALF TIME- Canberra Raiders 20 lead North Queensland Cowboys 6 Canberra have dominated possession and territory in the first half as they stole momentum in the fifth minute through a try to Nigel Plum. It has been all the Raiders as their big men have dominated the Cowboys pack. North Queensland scored with remarkably their only set on the Raiders line which will give Cowboys fans some hope of a comeback.
41 min: KICKOFF! Back underway at Canberra Stadium as the Cowboys have the football.
46 min: Matt Bowen of all people puts a big hit on Josh Dugan as he chases his own kick.
46 min: Matt Bowen of all people puts a big hit on Josh Dugan as he chases his own kick.
47 min: PENALTY Canberra. Luke O'Donnell penalised for a high tackle.
48 min: SCRUM Canberra. Shocking kick from Thurston looking for a 40/20 as he kicks the ball out on the full. Canberra with the ball 30m from the Cowboys line.
50 min: Campese chips the ball to the wing of Purtell and John Williams takes a brilliant catch to difuse the situation.
51 min: Goal-line Dropout Canberra. Dugan tackled dead following a Thurston kick.
51 min: PENALTY Cowboys. Canberra penalised off the first tackle of the set.
53 min: SCRUM Canberra. Thurston fires a cut-out pass to Farrar but he puts a foot on the touch line.
54 min: PENALTY Canberra. Campese runs the short side from dummy-half and makes a break tip-toeing down the touch line. He finds Purtell inside with a basketball pass and O'Donnell is penalised for holding him down.
56 min: PENALTY Canberra. The Cowboys penalised for holding the man down again and Archer gives them a warning. They turn down the option of a penalty goal again as they look for a try.
57 min: Bowen collects a Campese grubber on the run and gets out to the 20m line.
58 min: SCRUM Cowboys. The Tongue slips, losing the ball and the Cowboys have a scrum 25m from Canberra's line.
59 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys The Cowboys right back in this one as they shift the ball right and a long cut-out pass finds an unmarked John Williams who scores. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. Canberra Raiders 20-12
62 min: PENALTY Canberra. The Cowboys extremely unlucky there as Southern is penalised for hitting Campese late and in the air. Replays show the hit was legitimate.
70 min: Thurston kicks the ball dead as Canberra continue to control the game.
71 min: SCRUM Cowboys. Dugan loses and regathers the ball but as it hit a Cowboys player he is ruled to have knocked on.
72 min: Ty Williams grubbers the ball straight into Monaghan's hands and he streaks down field but Matt Bowen does well to drag him down 1 on 1. Monaghan jumps back to his feet but Thurston wraps him up.
74 min: Goal-line Dropout Canberra. A good kick from Payne from dummy-half sits up in the ingoal and the Cowboys have one last roll of the dice to get back in this game.
76 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys The Cowboys get back in this one with a clinical second man play down the left and Farrar scores in the corner. Thurston hooks the ball 25m from the right through the posts. Unbelievable kick! Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful. Canberra Raiders 22-18
78 min: SCRUM Canberra. Carl Webb loses the ball in the collision and the Raiders just need to hold onto the football.