North Queensland Cowboys 31
Tries: M Morgan 3, E Lowe, G Cooper
Goals:J Thurston 5/6
Field Goals: L Coote 1
Brisbane Broncos 20
Tries: L Maranta 2, J Kahu
Goals: C Parker 4/4
On the back of one of the most complete performances in recent NRL history, the North Queensland Cowboys have defeated the Broncos 31-20, extending their winning streak to seven games. The Cowboys had an incredible 92% completion rate, only failing to complete 3 of their 37 sets with the ball in hand.
Their polished attack eventually became too much for the Broncos to handle, as a Michael Morgan try in the 69th minute broke the 20-20 deadlock. The flood gates opened after that, as the fantastic Morgan scored yet another try in the 78th minute to complete his hat-trick.
Much of the talk heading into the Queensland derby focused on Morgan’s form as of late, and the Cowboys five-eight once again put Queensland Origin selectors on notice, as his power and speed close to the line allowed him to dominate Broncos opposite Anthony Milford.
Before Morgan singlehandedly changed the course of the game, the two teams could not be separated. In one of the best games of the 2015 season so far, a Corey Parker penalty goal in the 56th minute levelled the scores, and resulted in an even arm wrestle for the next 13 minutes of play.
The Brisbane side started the match on fire, as some enterprising attack in their own half resulted in a brilliant try on the other end of the field. Following a Jack Reed break on the left hand side of the field, a brilliant dummy and no look pass from Ben Hunt almost sent Alex Glenn through a massive hole to score a try. However Lachlan Coote was able to wrap him up with a good try saving tackle.
On the ensuing play, Anthony Milford threw a long ball to the wing, which was knocked by Cowboys centre Justin O’Neil but fortunately for the Broncos it still landed in winger Lachlan Maranta’s hands, and he dived over in the corner.
Brisbane winger Jordan Kahu then crossed the line on the receiving end of a quick backline movement, and the Broncos lead was extended to 12-0 with the aid of a Corey Parker sideline goal.
Morgan was the catalyst for the Cowboys comeback, as he showed tremendous strength to keep the ball off the ground while crawling towards the try line with Milford on his back.
Johnathan Thurston then showed his class as he gave a lovely short ball to put second rower Ethan Lowe through a huge hole, and the scores were locked up at 12-12. A penalty goal right on the stroke of halftime put the Cowboys in the lead going into the break.
4 minutes into the second half, JT once again put in a pin-point kick to set Gavin Cooper up for a try, extending the Cowboys lead to 20-12.
Anthony Milford showed a glimpse of his brilliant best, as he sliced through defenders before offloading to Maranta to give him his second try of the night.
The Cowboys were too strong though, and managed to score 13 points in the final ten minutes to put the score beyond doubt.
The future looks bright for the North Queensland side, as Morgan’s composure and skill will give the Cowboys confidence ahead of the inevitable loss of Thurston and other Cowboy’s stars throughout the origin period.