Gunnedah Bulldogs almost kicked their way to a first win of the Wests Entertainment Group Tooheys Group 4 first grade season on enemy territory on Saturday when beaten by a late penalty goal by Dungowan.

The Bulldogs had led late in the game before Cowboys fullback Trent Taylor slotted a late penalty goal to snare a 20-18 win.

It was an ironic way for the Cowboys to win after trailing their visitors who had kicked their way to the front thanks to some Dylan O’Brien penalties.

O’Brien was one of the Bulldog stars and kicked five goals, three of them penalties as the Bulldogs clawed their way to two and four-point leads in the second half.

Gunnedah coach Mick Schmiedel defended his decision to take the two penalties rather than go for tries.

“We took the two points a couple of times,” Schmiedel said.

“Took them out of respect to Dungowan.”

O’Brien, himself a former Cowboy, potted the penalties but the visitors couldn’t hold out the late Cowboy stampede.

“We did enough to win,” Schmiedel added. “Sure disappointing to lose like that but we were down 12 nil.”

He said the side stuck to its structures and that allowed them to storm back into the game and then lead late in the second half.

“We got back into the grind and showed we are on the right track.

“I still think they (Dungowan) are the red-hot favourites to take it out. It was an ugly game but we were spirited.”

He said “we didn’t have a bad performer” thought centre Paul Sharpley was “enormous”.

Skipper, Lincon Smith, “led from the front.

“He’s evolving as a captain,” Schmiedel said of the boilermaker.

A new move enables him to spend the time he needs to “give it a go” the 24-year-old said of his captaincy with the Bulldogs.

“We turned up today for sure,” he said of the narrow loss.

Smith is growing, not just as a skipper and leading the side but also in size and had a laugh about his growth in height as he departed from the Dungowan Tavern for the drive back home to Gunnedah.

First Grade: DUNGOWAN 20 (Mitch Doring, Lochie Collins, Cody Byrne tries, Trent Taylor 4gls) d GUNNEDAH 18 (Will Patterson, Lincon Smith tries, Dylan O’Brien 5gls) G4 B&F: 3 Dylan O’Brien (G), 2 Matt Wilson (D), 1 Jack Cameron (D). 

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