Cowboys youngster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow missed out on grabbing the game-winning try when his late effort was overturned following a bunker review.
In wet and slippery conditions in round one in Townsville, the Bulldogs held on for a gritty 6-4 win over the Cowboys.
The Bulldogs lost multiple players to head injuries, with Chris Patolo, Braidon Burns, Brent Naden and Jeremy Marshall-King all coming out of the game. Aaron Schoupp was forced to come in late as the 18th man.
But it all could’ve been a different story if Tabuai-Fidow’s feet were just a couple of centimetres behind the last-ditch bomb play of playmaker Chad Townsend, with just over two minutes remaining in the match.
After Townsend executed a perfect bomb, big man Coen Hess produced the perfect tap pass to Tabuai-Fidow, who scored under the posts.
And while the Cowboys celebrated, moments later the bunker intervened.
Replays clearly showed that both of Tabuai-Fidow’s feet were in front of the kicker.
“That’s a little bit of fatigue, he should’ve been on side there,” said Shane Flanagan in commentary for Fox League.
“Both feet have to be behind the kicker and they definitely weren’t.”
The match started with the Cowboys taking the lead early when Tom Gilbert crossed over.
At the 51st minute of the second half, Jayden Okunbor hit back as the Bulldogs held on for the thrilling two-point victory.