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North Queensland fans were left wondering tonight, as the Baby Broncos snatched the win at Suncorp Stadium, 30 points to 24.
Brisbane raced out to a big lead early in the match, with debutant Corey Norman having a hand in the first two tries. The first try of the match was scored by Israel Folau, as he crashed onto a Norman pass and scored in the corner.
Norman was again involved in the 22nd minute as he coolly laid on a flick pass for his winger Antonio Winterstein, before supporting Winterstein downfield and handing Darren Lockyer a try.
A 40 metre line break by Winterstein was almost botched in the 28th minute, as the winger stumbled as he met the fullback, however a well timed offload find Matt Gillett with an easy run to the tryline.
To add insult to injury 5 minutes later, the Cowboys were then penalised right in front of their own posts. Corey Parker slotted the penalty goal, allowing Brisbane to streak out to a 20 point lead, which they maintained until the break.
Despite rain beginning to fall at halftime, the Broncos continued with the job early in the second half, scoring soon after the break. The Cowboys' task looked almost as ominous as the overcast skies.
Undaunted by the situation, Johnathan Thurston took the game by the scruff of the neck, pulling every trick out of his bag to bring the Cowboys back into the game.
Firstly exhibiting his kicking skills, Thurston put in a clever kick for the wing which saw Norman's first blemish his impressive debut game, fumbling the ball to gift Ty Williams his first try.
Another Thurston cross-field kick a few minutes found Ashley Graham in the corner, and Thurston again knocked the conversion over effortlessly from the sideline.
Showing off his passing game a few minutes later, Thurston was involved in a swift backline movement, resulting in another try, and another Thurston sideline conversion - reeling the game in to Broncos 24, Cowboys 18.
Lastly, the crafty half illustrated his ability to read a set, patiently waiting for a gap to open up wide of the posts, before jagging through to even up the scores in front of a stunned Suncorp crowd.
Scores remained equal until the 77th minute, when Denan Kemp ruined the Cowboy's comeback, scoring in the corner to put the Broncos in front once more.
Regardless of the half time score, the Cowboys' fight-back in the second half allowed them to leave the field with their heads held high, and all fans to leave the field satisfied with a great display of attacking football.
Match Details Brisbane Broncos 30 defeated North Queensland Cowboys 24 National Rugby League - NRL - Round 1 - Friday March 12, 2010 8:35pm Venue: Suncorp Stadium Referee: Jared Maxwell and Gerard Sutton Video Referee: Tim Mander Touch Judges: David Abood and Phil Haines Crowd: 48,516 Halftime: Brisbane Broncos 20 North Queensland Cowboys 0
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Johnathan Thurston (1 Try, 4 Conversions)
2 Points - Darren Lockyer (1 Tries)
1 Point - Corey Norman
Brisbane Broncos (30)
Tries: Darren Lockyer, Matt Gillett, Alex Glenn, Israel Folau, Denan Kemp
Conversions: Corey Parker (4/5)
Penalty Goals: Corey Parker (1/1)
North Queensland Cowboys (24)
Tries: Johnathan Thurston, Ty Williams, Ashley Graham, Willie Tonga
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (4/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary G'day, Warm night at Lang Park. There's been a bit of rain recently but the ground looks in great condition.
Team lineups: Click on the 'Team Lists' tab. 1 min: Kick off, Cowboys with first use of the ball.
4 min: HELD UP! Cowboys denied when Scott Bolton is held up by fill back Corey Norman over the line.
10 min: Plenty of action end-to-end. Broncos now working it out from their own quarter.
17 min: Possible TRY to Broncos. Video ref looking...
18 min: Looking at interference. Verdict coming....
18 min: TRY
Centre Israel Folau crashes over in the corner, surviving a video ref scrutiny over an obstruction. Corey Parker converts from out wide.
Brisbane Broncos 6-0
22 min: TRY
Lockyer scores 10m in from touch. Lockyer handling twice in the movement. After working the short side, the outside men pass it back inside to Lockyer who scores. Parker slots the extras.
Brisbane Broncos 12-0
28 min: TRY
Matt Gillett scores. Winger Antonio Winterstein makes a fine 40m bust down the Broncos' left side, getting around the defence. He stumbles and is met by the fullback, but manages to offload a well timed inside short pass to benchie Matt Gillett who scores just to the left of the sticks.
Brisbane Broncos 18-0
33 min: PENALTY GOAL
Parker puts the home side further ahead with penalty goal right in front. Everything going right for the Broncos.
Brisbane Broncos 20-0
36 min: Broncos finding room wide of the ruck. Cowboys get a penalty but are unable to find touch!
40 min: Half time. The Cowboys woes typified just before the break when Johnathan Thurston creates a chance 20m out and sends the ball to second receiver just wide. O'Donnell, under no pressure, spills the ball.
Broncos with more possession and on the ascendancy. This after the match was a close call in the opening stages.
Rain now falling. Hard yakka for the Cowboys.
41 min: Players on the field for the restart, rain has eased but it'll be moist underfoot.
Second half underway...
49 min: Possible Broncos try. Video ref looking for something...
49 min: TRY
Alex Glenn score 15m in of touch. Straight forward move across the line from close range. The Cowboys' hole gets deeper. Broncos supporters celebrating.
Brisbane Broncos 24-0
54 min: Possible try to Cowboys. Video ref looking...
54 min: TRY
Ty Williams gets the nod, scoring 12m in from touch. Follows a clever kick ahead from Thurston, Norman unable to handle it. Williams is there to take the spoils. Thurston converts.
Brisbane Broncos 24-6
58 min: Cowboys muscling up well in defence to stop the Broncos out wide.
62 min: TRY Northern Storm
Ashley Graham gets the green light from the video ref after Thurston puts in perfect cross-field kick to set up the try. Thurston's conversion from the right sideline is a banana kick, and goes straight between the posts! Are the Cowboys a chance?
Brisbane Broncos 24-12
65 min: TRY
Willie Tonga scores on the end of a fast back line movement out wide. Thurston involved again. Broncos on the back foot, the Cowboys on the comeback trail. Thurston nails another conversion from the sideline!
Brisbane Broncos 24-18
69 min: TRY
An all seeing Johnathan Thurston plays the set perfectly from close range, a gap opens up and goes himself to score 18m wide of the posts. A sensational comeback. The Broncos in a panic. The Lang Park crowd are stunned.
Brisbane Broncos 24-24
77 min: TRY
Denan Kemp scores in the corner, ending the Cowboys' comeback. A 50m sprint with Lockyer involved. Parker converts from the sideline.
Brisbane Broncos 30-24
78 min: Fight!
Not much in it, Cowboys get the penalty in their own half following a high shot from Broncos halfback Peter Wallace.
79 min: Cowboys force the Broncos into a line drop out, but lose it on the first tackle.
80 min: Full time. Both teams putting on a great spectacle of attacking football wide of the ruck. The Broncos leading by 24-0 at one point and probably have the stats to show that they were the better team overall. The Cowboys were gallant in defeat.