One of the great NRL rivalries gained another chapter tonight as the Cowboys took on the Broncos in front of a good crowd at 1300SMILES Stadium.
Ahh, the XXXX Derby is back again, each year the Cowboys and the Broncos come together and each year they produce absolute crackers. This one was no different: 17,530 supporters watched what was to be a season-deciding game for both sides. Tevita Pangai Jnr and Jason Taumalolo were at it all game, as were Matt Lodge and Josh McGuire. Tensions were high in what at times was a frustrating game to watch. Although it was Pangai Jnr and the Broncos who were laughing early, the edge runner got a good offload away to speedster Jamayne Isaako, who palmed away his opposite and spiralled it to Milford to score the opener.
Jake Turpin channelled his inner Alfie Langer with about 10 minutes left in the first half but knocked on over the line. The Cowboys found themselves in some unfamiliar territory in the Broncos red zone and capitalised. A mistake in from inside the in goal saw Shane Wright dive over the line to even up the game in a controversial decision. Tensions boiled over when Josh McGuire took distaste with Pangai Jnr coming into a tackle late.
The game continued to lack fluency with the Broncos lacking direction and the Cowboys making silly mistakes. The deadlock was finally broken in the 56th minute when Jake Clifford picked up his own grubber, putting the Cowboys in the lead. It didn’t last long as David Fifita pushed his way over in the 64th minute. A late penalty goal gave the Cowboys a lead with a few minutes left, but it wasn’t meant to be for the men from the north as the Broncos stole it on the buzzer. Jake Turpin scored a controversial try to seal the win and put the Broncos into the top eight.
Another Classic Derby
Normality was restored to the NRL tonight as the derby was decided by big hits, drama and less than six points again. Although it was a fairly scrappy and clunky game, it had fans sitting on the edge of their seats right up until the final play. Just the way it should be.
Fans from both sides will be scratching their heads with a few controversial calls sure to be part of the post-match press conference. Obstructions, missed knock-ons and the last set will all be analysed by Graham Annesley after the round’s end.
Broncos Without Guidance
The Broncos looked misguided tonight as no one took control of their attack. They looked flat and at times completely unorganised. Anthony Seibold will need to fix this if the Broncos end up running for gold in September.
Season Over for Cowboys
The 2019 season is all but over for the Cowboys as they lost their third consecutive game. A year marred by injury and dysfunction has taken its toll. Fans should be hopeful for the future as their stack of youth will only get better.
North Queensland 14
Tries: Shane Wright, Jake Clifford
Goals: Jake Clifford 3/3
Tries: Anthony Milford, David Fifita, Jake Turpin
Goals: Jamayne Isaako 3/3
North Queensland: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Coen Hess 4. Tom Opacic 5. Gideon Gela-Mosby 6. Michael Morgan 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Jake Granville 15. Matt Scott 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Shane Wright 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14. John Asiata 16. Scott Bolton 17. Francis Molo 18. Peter Hola.
Brisbane: 1. Anthony Milford 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 18. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Darius Boyd 7. Jake Turpin 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Tevita Pangai 13. Joe Ofahengaue. Interchange: 14. James Segeyaro 15. Thomas Flegler 16. Rhys Kennedy 17. Patty Carrigan.