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3 days ago
The North Queensland Cowboys have come from behind to stun the Brisbane Broncos late 34-30 in a cliffhanger at 1300Smiles Stadium on Thursday night.
While the Cowboys were sitting down the bottom of the competition ladder, the general consensus was that the Queensland derby was exactly what they needed to spark a late season resurgence.
And that script was playing out right in front of the North Queensland faithful as the Cowboys rushed out to an early 12-2 lead.
After the Broncos opted for an early penalty goal, it was all the home side for the next 20 minutes. The first try came in the 8th minute when Gideon Gela-Mosby steamed onto a Te Maire Martin grubber to score in the corner. Shortly after Jonathan Thurston extended his side's lead to six with a shot at goal.
It didn't take long for the Cowboys to push further ahead. Only two minutes later Taumalolo scooped up the ball after an error from Darius Boyd and surged over in the 17th minute. North Queensland had all the momentum and looked certain to only add to their points tally in the 20th minute when they spread the ball to their left edge.
However, an all-or-nothing play by James Roberts saw the centre intercept the ball and race away to halt the home side's dominance. Only minutes later the Broncos were in again, this time Matt Lodge barged over and bagged an eight-point try after Martin was ruled to have come in with the legs.
Two late penalty goals gave the Cowboys a two-point lead at the break, with Kyle Feldt's 55-metre effort on the stroke of half-time a highlight.
Just under 20,000 at @1300SMILESS this evening for the #XXXXDerby #NRLCowboysBroncos pic.twitter.com/weMK6tPzP0
— LeagueUnlimited (@LeagueUnlimited) August 9, 2018
Just as they did in the first half, the Broncos quickly slotted a penalty goal to lock things up before a Korbin Sims try in the 54th minute gifted them the lead. Three minutes later they extended the buffer to 12 when Tevita Pangai-Junior surged through the line off a lovely short ball from Kodi Nikorima to score.
However, the Queensland derby always promises a tight finish and this was no different.
Feldt flew over out wide in the 63rd minute after fending off Gehamat Shibasaki to reduce the deficit to eight before Gavin Cooper crashed over three minutes later. Suddenly the victory was in sight for Paul Green's men and a wicked bounce saw Coen Hess claim the matchwinner in the 77th minute to crush the Broncos.
Next week the Cowboys face a tough task when they travel to take on the Sharks on Saturday night. Meanwhile, the Broncos will have to regroup as they host the table-topping Rabbitohs in a week's time.
North Queensland Cowboys 34 - Brisbane Broncos 30
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium
Halftime Score: North Queensland Cowboys 18 Brisbane Broncos 16
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jason Taumalolo
2 points - Kodi Nikorima
1 points - Matthew Scott
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (34)
Tries: Gideon Gela-mosby, Jason Taumalolo, Kyle Feldt, Gavin Cooper, Coen Hess
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (4/5)
Penalty Goals: Johnathan Thurston (2/2), Kyle Feldt (1/1)
BRISBANE BRONCOS (30)
Tries: James Roberts, Matthew Lodge, Korbin Sims, Tevita Pangai Junior
Conversions: Jamayne Isaako (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Jamayne Isaako (3/3)