Broncos pip Cowboys in entertaining derby
In a high quality contest, the Brisbane Broncos have defeated the North Queensland Cowboys 12-10 at Suncorp Stadium in front of over 42,000 fans.
Despite the low score, both sides threw everything at each other for eighty minutes, with defence the key for much of the duration. Brisbane struck first after 13 minutes, with Lachlan Maranta taking advantage of an overlap to cross in the corner.
The Cowboys struck back shortly after, with a similar tactic seeing them post their first points. Ash Graham went down the right side in the same fashion as his counterpart from the Broncos, and the scores were level at 4-all after a quarter of the match.
Both sides peppered each other for the remainder of the half, each forcing line drop-outs at different times before the Broncos struck on halftime. Josh Hoffman scored off a deft grubber from Jack Reed in the shadows of the break to give the hosts a four-point lead.
Great defence from both sides coupled with too much panic in attack saw neither side post points in the second half until the 58th minute, when the Cowboys ran the ball close to the line late in the tackle count, Clint Greenshields breaking through to score in his return to the NRL. Thurston's conversion saw the Cowboys pull in front by two.
Brisbane finally hit the front with nine minutes remaining, after sustaining several sets on their own line, they went up the other end and eventually Josh Hoffman beat the defence to score in the corner. In front by two from the try, the missed conversion from Prince was ultimately moot, as the Broncos did superbly well in defence for the remainder of the match. An error-prone final ten from the visitors ensured the Broncos would win this derby match.
The Telstra Premiership takes a week's break after this weekend - in the returning round at the end of April, the Cowboys host the Raiders in Townsville and the Broncos travel to Sydney to face the Tigers, both on Saturday 27 April.
Brisbane Broncos 12 North Queensland Cowboys 10
Venue: Lang Park
Halftime Score: Broncos 8-4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Corey Parker
2 points - Johnathan Thurston
1 point - Jack Reed
BRISBANE BRONCOS (12)
Tries: Lachlan Maranta, Josh Hoffman (2)
Conversions: Scott Prince (0/3)
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (10)
Tries: Ashley Graham, Clint Greenshields
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Broncos: No changes - as named on Tuesday...
1. Corey Norman 2. Josh Hoffman 3. Jack Reed 4. Justin Hodges 5. Lachlan Maranta 6. Scott Prince 7. Peter Wallace 8. Ben Hannant 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Sam Thaiday (C) 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker
Interchange: 14. Ben Hunt 15. Scott Anderson 16. David Hala 17. Nick Slyney
Cowboys: Matt Bowen, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Jason Taumololo and Dallas Johnson are all OUT.
Clint Greenshields comes in at fullback, Ashley Graham on the wing, Joel Riethmuller starting at Lock. Ashton Sims is on the bench.
19 Clint Greenshields, 21 Ash Graham, 3 Brent Tate, 4 Kane Linnett, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Johnathan Thurston (c), 7 Michael Morgan, 8 Matt Scott (c), 9 Rory Kostjasyn, 10 James Tamou, 11 Tariq Sims, 12 Glenn Hall, 20 Joel Riethmuller
Interchange: 14 Ray Thompson, 15 Gavin Cooper, 16 Scott Bolton, 18 Ashton Sims
Important game for both clubs, each fluctuating in form recently, both also looking to capitalise on confidence-boosting wins last weekend. This "Queensland derby" match has a different look to it now with so many changes for the Cowboys, while the Broncos welcome back captain Sam Thaiday after his suspension in a Round 4 altercation with a referee.
Being Men of League Heritage Round, it's heritage jersey time. Both clubs in different strips, Broncos maroon front, yellow back. Cowboys in a 1995 replica. Ready to start!
1 min: UNDERWAY at Suncorp! Cowboys with first possession.
2 min: Great long kick from the Broncos to end their first set finds touch. Cowboys scrum on their own 10m line.
4 min: Broncos put a bomb up on the last from 20m out, but it's well taken by Greenshields.
6 min: Another aerial test on the last, Winterstein is able to field the kick for the Cowboys. The visitors still having trouble getting out of their own end.
8 min: Brisbane thread the ball through via a grubber, but it's too heavy and is watched dead. Cowboys 20m restart.
9 min: This time the Cowboys try testing the Broncos in the air, but this will be a penalty as the Cowboys chasers have taken Broncos fullback Corey Norman in the air.
10 min: Line dropout forced by the Broncos, Hodges grubbering ahead on the last and they trap Winterstein in goal.
13 min: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Lachlan Maranta. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince unsuccessful.
The Broncos work the numbers on the right edge and Maranta gets it down in the corner! Prince misses. First blood Brisbane.
Brisbane Broncos 4-0
15 min: The most basic of errors from Scott Prince, thrown the ball at first receiver and drops it cold.
16 min: Cowboys now exerting some pressure on the Broncos, a line dropout forced.
17 min: Thurston grubbers through... another line dropout forced. Great pressure from the Cowboys.
19 min: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Ashley Graham. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.
The pressure finally tolls on the Broncos, and similar to their opposition, it's numbers to the right and Ashley Graham gets across the line out wide. Thurston swings the conversion right but can't bring it around enough.
21 min: Great follow-up set from the Cowboys, Michael Morgan finds touch inside the Broncos' 10m. Brisbane scrum.
26 min: Cowboys right on Brisbane's line again here.
27 min: Broncos contain the Cowboys, who played hot potato with it on the last with no success. Handover.
28 min: Penalty Broncos for a high tackle... but they've not found touch through Corey Norman's kick, Ash Graham's kept it in, Cowboys ball approaching halfway!
29 min: Brisbane do the same at the other end, plenty of hot potato footy and then a bomb, it's taken comfortably by Clint Greenshields though, and he's clobbered by a Broncos chaser.
32 min: Ash Graham goes down the sideline... long-range try looming! No! He's dragged down! They thread it through the hands... they look to score, Parker's stopped a try but he's in an offside position! VIDEO REFEREE possible Cowboys PENALTY TRY...
32 min: NO TRY. Play on for the Cowboys, no penalty either.
36 min: Cowboys error inside their own 10m! Broncos scrum in the shadows of halftime...
38 min: Great defence from the Cowboys, pressing up on the Broncos attack and eventually they force the error, possession now with the visitors.
40 min: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Josh Hoffman. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince unsuccessful.
Break down the left side... Jack Reed has it, grubbers in-field for his support and it comes in the form of Hoffman - he scores! Prince misses, it's an 8-4 halftime lead to Brisbane.
Brisbane Broncos 8-4
41 min: We are back underway for the second half.
43 min: Brisbane put it up on the last, but there's an error in the contest and it's a Cowboys ball. Handover.
44 min: Dear me. Cowboys trouble the Broncos up the middle, finding themselves in the zone in the back of the set... Thurston puts it up - into the bleachers. Out on the full.
47 min: Brisbane with a penalty, they're starting this set inside the Cowboys' 20m.
48 min: Brisbane kick early, Thurston collects it and takes it dead though. Dropout.
49 min: Brisbane have thrown a billion passes to try getting around the Cowboys defence but it's all to no avail. They grubber through on the 5th... and the Cowboys have to take it dead. Another dropout.
51 min: Another set at the Cowboys line and still no luck for Brisbane, this time the grubber is fielded by them and they get possession. Great defence NQ.
52 min: Brisbane penalised, Cowboys start a set just inside the Broncos' half.
56 min: Bizarre scenes, Prince has been taken late by Tariq Sims after a kick. The Cowboys instead get a penalty for offside.
58 min: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Clint Greenshields. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.
Beautiful line running, Thaiday is fooled in defence... Greenshields is in! Thurston converts to put the visitors in front.
North Queensland Cowboys 10-8
63 min: Cowboys really stepping up at the moment, forcing Brisbane deep and showing lots of energy in defence.
67 min: Cowboys on fire at the moment, a superb long range kick-chase sees the Broncos forced back in-goal. Drop out Cowboys!
70 min: Similarly Brisbane punch a long, deep kick downfield, forcing the Cowboys just inside the field of play. Four tackles into the set, Matt Scott loses it 20m out! Brisbane scrum!
71 min: VIDEO REFEREE possible Broncos try to Hoffman... checking grounding in the corner. Looks good...
71 min: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Josh Hoffman. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince unsuccessful.
Hoffman gets it down in the corner! Broncos in front inside the final ten! Prince misses from the sideline.
Brisbane Broncos 12-10
74 min: Cowboys break... then on the last... sideline high kick! GRAHAM UP FOR IT! NO! He's tackled into touch! Broncos ball.
77 min: Tamou spills the ball on the 40m line just as the Cowboys looked to attack! Broncos scrum.
79 min: Cowboys with a set deep in their own half... and a forward pass on the fourth sees a scrum to Brisbane inside the Cowboys 40m.
80 min: Brisbane motoring forward in this final set. Last tackle with 20 seconds left. Grubber from Wallace, Cowboys taken dead. Game over.
FULLTIME at Suncorp Stadium - Brisbane win 12-10 over a valiant Cowboys side.