Andrew Pelechaty reviews Brisbane’s “wooden spoon grand final” against North Queensland. Here’s how the game went.
|3rd||Try Payne Haas (Brisbane)||Brisbane 4-0|
|4th||Goal Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane)||Brisbane 6-0|
|12th||Try Darius Boyd (Brisbane)||Brisbane 10-0|
|14th||Goal Issac Luke (Brisbane)||Brisbane 12-0|
|20th||Try Jake Clifford (North Queensland)||Brisbane 12-4|
|21st||Goal Valentine Holmes (North Queensland)||Brisbane 12-6|
|28th||Try Kyle Feldt (North Queensland)||Brisbane 12-10|
|29th||Goal Valentine Holmes (North Queensland)||Scores tied 12-12|
|37th||Try Justin O’Neill (North Queensland)||North Queensland 16-12|
|54th||Ty Corey Oates (Brisbane)||Scores tied 16-16|
|63rd||Try Kyle Feldt (North Queensland)||North Queensland 20-16|
|65th||Goal Valentine Holmes (North Queensland)||North Queensland 22-16|
|70th||Try Kyle Feldt (North Queensland)||North Queensland 26-16|
|75th||Try Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (North Queensland)||North Queensland 30-16|
|77th||Goal Gavin Cooper (North Queensland)||North Queensland 32-16|
Desperate to avoid their first wooden spoon, Brisbane opened the scoring through Payne Hass, who picked up the crumbs from a Tom Dearden bomb.
Kotoni Staggs suffered an ACL injury to his left knee few minutes later, and was carried off the field: it could put his Origin hopes in jeopardy.
The Broncos quickly rebounded, with Darius Boyd, playing his 337th and final game, burrowing over from dummy half. Replacement goalkicker Issac Luke converted to give Brisbane a 12-0 lead.
North Queensland had a sustained period in attacking territory – helped by some penalties and set restarts – but couldn’t capitalise.
They finally managed to break through in the 20th minute, with a try to Jake Clifford, catching a bomb and breaking through Brisbane’s defence.
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow nearly scored a runaway try off a gutsy cross-field kick close to the Cowboys’ tryline, but he was ruled offside, with the Bunker intervening after the try was awarded (one of the trial rule changes this weekend).
Brisbane looked to have scored through Herbie Farnworth soon after, but it was pulled back due to an obstruction.
The Cowboys were the next to score, with Kyle Feldt scoring in the right corner off a beautiful cut-out ball from Valentine Holmes. The scores were tied 12-12 when Holmes converted from the sideline.
Holmes was involved again just before halftime, supplying the last pass for Justin O’Neill as the Cowboys took the lead 16-12.
Brisbane scored the first try – 14 minutes into the second half – after a Cowboys mistake in their territory (which was pored over by the Bunker), with Corey Oates scoring in the left corner. Luke missed the tough sideline conversion, keeping the scores tied 16-16.
While this game didn’t have the prestige of previous XXXX Derbies, it looked to be as close as the classic Brisbane v North Queensland games of a few years ago.
Brisbane squandered their advantage soon after, when Farnworth knocked on close to his line. The Cowboys appeared to have scored off the scrum, though Tabuai-Fidow, but his foot touched the sideline before he grounded the ball.
With 14 minutes left, Feldt became the leading tryscorer in 2020 (18), off a beautiful double cut-out pass from Scott Drinkwater, as North Queensland regained the lead 22-16 after Holmes’ conversion.
Drinkwater and Feldt combined again a few minutes later: this time Drinkwater threading a neat grubber for Feldt’s hat-trick.
With five minutes left, the Cowboys scored one of the tries of the year: Brisbane were attacking on their right wing, before Holmes fielded a kick from Xavier Coates, ran 40 metres up the field, and gave the ball to Tabuai-Fidow to go the rest of the way down the left wing. It was just reward after his brilliant first half try was denied. Gavin Cooper – playing his final game for the Cowboys – nailed the conversion, handing Brisbane (who conceded 32 points in the last 60 minutes) their first wooden spoon.
While it’s been a dirty year for North Queensland, Kyle Feldt has soared above the mediocrity. Heading into tonight, he was second on the try scorers’ list with 16. Tonight’s hat-trick took him to 19, overtaking the Wests Tigers’ David Nofoaluma, and in pole position for the Ken Irvine Medal. His second and third tries were the most important: scored in the 63rd and 70th minute, they turned a 16-16 deadlock into a match-winning 26-16 lead.
Brisbane Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Xavier Coates 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Richard Kennar 6. Kotoni Staggs 7. Tom Dearden 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Issac Luke 10. Payne Haas 11. Jordan Riki 12. Alex Glenn 13. Patrick Carrigan. Interchange: 14. Cory Paix 15. Ben Te’o 16. Corey Oates 17. Jamil Hopoate
North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Murray Taulagi 21. Justin O’Neill 5. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Reuben Cotter 10. Jordan McLean 15. Tom Gilbert 12. Mitchell Dunn 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 11. Gavin Cooper 14. John Asiata 16. Corey Jensen 17. Francis Molo.