Lachy MacCorquodale reviews the XXXX Derby between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Brisbane Broncos. Here’s how the game went.
|11th||Try Jake Turpin (Broncos)||Brisbane 4-0|
|12th||Goal Jamayne Isaako (Broncos)||Brisbane 6-0|
|14th||Try Valentine Holmes (Cowboys)||Brisbane 6-4|
|19th||Try Kotoni Staggs (Broncos)||Brisbane 10-4|
|21st||Goal Jamayne Isaako (Broncos)||Brisbane 12-4|
|33rd||Try Kyle Feldt (Cowboys)||Brisbane 12-8|
|40th||Field Goal Michael Morgan (Cowboys)||Brisbane 12-9|
|41st||Try Tevita Pangai Jr. (Broncos)||Brisbane 16-9|
|42nd||Goal Jamayne Isaako (Broncos)||Brisbane 18-9|
|57th||Try David Fifita (Broncos)||Brisbane 22-9|
|59th||Goal Jamayne Isaako (Broncos)||Brisbane 24-9|
|60th||Try Jamayne Isaako (Broncos)||Brisbane 28-9|
|64th||Try Gavin Cooper (Cowboys)||Brisbane 28-13|
|65th||Goal Kyle Feldt (Cowboys)||Brisbane 28-15|
|74th||Try Ben Hampton (Cowboys)||Brisbane 28-19|
|75th||Goal Kyle Feldt (Cowboys)||Brisbane 28-21|
The match didn’t start the way that the Cowboys wanted, with winger Kyle Feldt sending the opening kick-off out on the full to give the Broncos good field possession for the first set at the new Queensland Country Bank Stadium. The Cowboys were faced with an early loss when Justin O’Neill left the field with a concussion and was ruled out for the night. New signing Valentine Holmes started poorly, with three errors in the opening ten minutes. His third error led to the opening try for the Broncos’ dummy-half Jake Turpin, who was able to throw a dummy and step past Holmes after a lapse in defence. The Cowboys didn’t take long to reply with a nice finish for Holmes in the corner after Scott Drinkwater straightened up the defence for him.
Errors continued to occur – as was expected for the opening round – but the Broncos were able to capitalise after a good run from Kotoni Staggs as the Cowboys rushed up in defence. The Cowboys needed to be next to score and they certainly were, with Feldt scoring a routine try in the corner after catching out the Broncos for numbers on the right edge. A goal-line drop out was the last play of the match and unexpectedly Michael Morgan launched a drop kick from halfway which ended up sailing through the uprights.
Trailing by three points at the break, the Cowboys failed to defuse a bomb which the Broncos retained, allowing Tevita Pangai Jr to score. The Cowboys certainty weren’t out of the match and Mitchell Dunn arguably bottled an opportunity to get his side closer. The Cowboys continued to get decent field position until David Fifita made a 70 metre line break after he shook off Coen Hess and Esan Marsters, then proceeded to step past Holmes on his way to a brilliant individual try. The momentum was all with the Broncos now and Jamayne Isaako opened his account for the season after receiving an offload from Brisbane debutant Jesse Arthars. Brisbane were playing with more freedom than they did last season and it is certainly working thus far.
Cowboys stalwart Gavin Cooper was able to give the team and their fans some faith after he received a brilliant cut out pass from Drinkwater, who continued to be a bright light for the home side. As both teams looked exhausted, Marsters made a break on the right edge and offloaded to Drinkwater, who squared up Holmes and put Granville through, only to be stopped by Darius Boyd. The Cowboys failed to capitalise on the overlap after the tackle and it was another blown try by the home side.
Luckily for the Cowboys, Isaako made an error in his own 20 after cramping whilst running, which allowed Ben Hampton to collect the ball and cross over for a try to bring the Cowboys within seven points with only four minutes remaining. Just when the game seemed over, Dunn scored a great individual try which was disallowed after it was determined that Hampton had knocked on in the lead-up. The Broncos were able to withstand the Cowboys to win by seven points.
David Fifita lit up the new stadium in the 57th minute when he scored an incredible try to start his 2020 season. He showed his supreme athletic ability as he broke two tackles on his way to stepping past Holmes and outrunning the Cowboys wingers for the tenth try of his NRL career.
He was able to have an immense impact on the game despite his low nine touches for the match. He is one of these players with extraordinary amounts of X-factor and has already established himself as one of the most entertaining players in the competition. The Queensland back-rower finished with 150 run metres from just 9 carries, which included a line break and 4 tackle breaks. Fifita was also solid in defence, with 33 tackles and 2 misses on the left edge.
North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Nell 4. Esan Marsters 5. Ben Hampton 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Michael Morgan 8. John Asiata 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo Interchange: 14. Reece Robson 15. Mitchell Dunn 17. Francis Molo 18. Corey Jensen.
Brisbane Broncos: 14. Jamayne Isaako 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Darius Boyd 5. Jesse Arthars 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Tevita Pangai Jr. 13. Patrick Carrigan Interchange: 15. Andrew McCullough 16. Rhys Kennedy 17. Jamil Hopoate 19. Herbie Farnworth.