The Brisbane Broncos have won the latest chapter in the epic Queensland derby, demolishing the North Queensland Cowboys 29-10 in front a full house at Suncorp Stadium.
The Broncos gained the ascendency early as they out enthused the Cowboys in both attack and defense in the opening few sets of the game. They were able to take advantage of some good field position and opened the scoring through Corey Oates after some great offloads from Tevita Pangai Jr and Jack Bird. The Cowboys made several attempts to wrestle their way back into the game through the first half but the Broncos defense stood strong against each challenge. The Broncos were able to turn good defense into good attack, and extended the lead to 10-0 after Jamayne Isaako knocked back a Kodi Nikorima cross field kick for James Roberts to score in the corner. The lead up to halftime was more of an arm wrestle, with the Cowboys able to win a few repeat sets on the broncos line. They lost momentum however when Jason Taumalolo left due to a knee injury, which blunted their attack and helped the Broncos get to halftime with a ten point lead.
The Broncos started the second half much like they started the first, as Corey Oates scored his second try just minutes after the break to increase the lead to 14. The Cowboys, still reeling from the loss of Jason Taumalolo, began to show signs of fatigue early in the second half as they leaked two tries in quick succession. One to a barnstorming Tevita Pangai Jr and the other to James Roberts who collected his second try to extend the lead to 24-0. To their credit, the Cowboys kept powering through the fatigue and eventually were able to add their first points when fullback Jordan Kahu scored the corner and converted his own try. The two sides then went back and forth, with Andrew McCullough crossing for Brisbane and Justin O’Neill grabbing the Cowboys second try in the 70th minute. This late effort wasn’t enough as Anthony Milford slotted a field goal to put the final dragger in the Cowboys coffin and give the Broncos a dominant 29-10 victory.
Pangai Jr pummels Cowboys
There was a lot of media attention on the battle between Tevita Pangai Jr and Jason Taumalolo in the lead up to this game, and Pangai Jr looked like a man on a mission from the opening kick off. He was damaging with every run, and terrorised the Cowboys in defense by putting on some big hits and crushing tackles to take the sting out of the Cowboys attack. He went toe to toe with Taumalolo on a few occasions and got the upper hand as he was able to put some heavy shots on the usually unstoppable force that Taumalolo provides, forcing him from the field late in the first half.
Troubled with no Taumalolo
The Cowboys were struggling to contain the Broncos attack when Taumalolo was on the field, and this certainly didn’t improve when he was forced from the field in the first half with a knee injury. Without Taumalolo, the Cowboys lost all the power in the running game as they couldn’t so much as dent the Broncos for the rest of the game. As a result their halves were left with a minimal platform to make an impact in attack. If Taumalolo is forced to miss any time with this injury, the rest of the Cowboys star-studded forward pack will have to dig deep to ensure they are not dominated like they were in this game.
Fortress Suncorp returns in style
The Broncos started their season with a tough road game in Melbourne last week and were not able to get a win against a good Storm side. This week they returned to their home ground in Suncorp Stadium and sent a warning shot to the rest of the competition with a dominant display in front of a crowd of 45,000 people. The home field advantage has always been a factor for the Broncos, and it showed in this game proving that they are a force to be reckoned with on any ground, especially at fortress Suncorp.
Rivalry still alive and kicking
Despite the score line in this game being heavily in the favour of the Broncos, the type of footy that was played between these two sides is the type of footy we have all grown to love over the past few years in the Queensland derby. The first half was a great display of both highly entertaining attacking footy and determination and grit in defense, and the second half wasn’t far behind, with the lack of Jason Taumalolo the only disappointment. Both teams now sit at one win and one loss to start the season, and will hopefully be able to provide a similar showing when they next meet in round 21.
Brisbane Broncos 29
Tries: Corey Oates 2, James Roberts 2, Tevita Pangai Jr, Andrew McCullough
Goals: Jamayne Isaako 2/6
Drop Goals: Anthony Milford 1/1
North Queensland Cowboys 10
Tries: Jordan Kahu, Justin O’Neill
Goals: Jordan Kahu 1/2
Drop Goals: N/A
Brisbane Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd (c), 2. Corey Oates, 3. James Roberts, 4. Jack Bird, 5. Jamayne Isaako, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Kodi Nikorima, 8. Tevita Pangai Jr, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Joe Ofahengaue, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. David Fifita, 13. Matt Gillett. Interchange: 14. Kotoni Staggs, 15. Jaydn Su’a, 16. Thomas Flegler, 17. Shaun Fensom.
North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Jordan Kahu, 2. Nene Macdonald, 3. Justin O’Neill, 4. Tom Opacic, 5. Javid Bowen, 6. Te Maire Martin, 7. Michael Morgan (c), 8. Matt Scott, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Gavin Cooper, 13. Jason Taumalolo, 15. Josh McGuire. Interchange: 14. John Asiata, 16. Mitchell Dunn, 17. Francis Molo, 12. Coen Hess