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The North Queensland Cowboys have outlasted the Brisbane Broncos 16-14 in an exciting round one encounter in front of 45119 fans at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
The Broncos got the match off to the best possible start when young centre Jack Reed opened the scoring for the home side. Captain Darren Lockyer laid the try on a platter for the youngster with a perfectly timed pass. Unfortunately for the Broncos that was as good as it got in the first half as the Cowboys warmed to the task. After 12 minutes, Lockyer and lock Corey Parker had a head clash, leaving the skipper requiring stitches for a head gash. Cowboys front rower James Tamou got the Cowboys back on level terms when he charged onto a short pass from Thurston from 10 metres and carried several Broncos defenders over the line. Nine minutes later, the Cowboys extended their lead through winger Michael Bani who finished off a scintillating 60-metre movement. Working the ball out of their own end, Thurston's short-pass through the heart of the Broncos defence sent second rower Cooper into open space. Cooper drew Broncos fullback Josh Hoffman before sending Bani on an unimpeded 40-metre dash to the tryline. Cowboys centre Will Tupou rounded off the scoring in the first half, after Thurston was again inspirational. The classy halfback summed up the situation perfectly and saw the Broncos defence short out wide, delivering a perfect floating pass to Tupou who crashed over. The Cowboys went to the break holding a commanding 16-4 lead.
Jharal Yow Yeh closed the gap to just a converted try five minutes after the break, after Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen couldn't quite grasp Darren Lockyer's grubber kick into the in-goal. A controversial decision by video referee Tim Mander in the 69th minute did not go the Cowboys way after Thurston and Bowen combined brilliantly. Thurston found Bowen around the middle of the ruck, and with Broncos fullback Josh Hoffman baring down, Bowen chipped over the top and into the in-goal. Both fullbacks attempted to force the ball in the in-goal, but Bowen appeared to get there first. Mander ruled Bowen knocked the ball on in attempting to score the try. The scoreline of 16-10 would stay that way until the shadows of fulltime when another Broncos youngster, winger Dane Gagai crossed out wide with the clock showing six minutes left. Corey Parker's sideline conversion attempt waved away. The Broncos had one last chance to snatch victory in the final minute, but Sam Thaiday knocked the ball on while attempting to play the ball quickly, ensuring the Cowboys won their first Queensland Derby over the Broncos for the first time since 2007.
Next week, the Cowboys return to Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night for their first home game of the season against the Knights, while the Broncos have a trip to Canberra Stadium next Friday night.
Brisbane Broncos 14 were defeated by North Queensland Cowboys 16
National Rugby League - Round 1 - Friday March 11, 2011 8:45pm
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Referee: Shayne Hayne and Gerard Sutton
Video Referee: Tim Mander
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Gavin Morris
Halftime: Brisbane Broncos 4 North Queensland Cowboys 16
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Johnathan Thurston (2 Conversions)
2 Points - Matt Bowen
1 Point - Josh Hoffman
BRISBANE BRONCOS (14)
Tries: Jharal Yow Yeh, Dane Gagai, Jack Reed
Conversions: Corey Parker (1/3)
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (16)
Tries: Michael Bani, James Tamou, Will Tupou
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (2/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary And a very good evening and welcome to Suncorp Stadium for Round 1 of the 2011 Telstra Premiership. It's been a long off-season, in particular for both Brisbane and North Queensland as they missed the finals of the 2010 season. We are just awaiting confirmation of team changes for both sides and once they come to hand, you will hear about them here on LeagueUnlimited!
TEAM CHANGES: Shane Tronc comes into the run-on side at the expense of Sam Thaiday who drops back to the bench for Brisbane, while Tariq Sims drops off the North Queensland bench and Ashton Sims comes into the run-on side. James Tamou drops back to the bench.
1 min: And we're underway here at Suncorp. Thurston gets the game underway!
3 min: Lockyer's pin-point kick towards the wing of Bani pays dividends as the Cowboys winger is bundled into touch. Broncos to attack.
5 min: TRY
TRY Brisbane Broncos
Scored by Jack Reed. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker unsuccessful.
And the Broncos get their season underway through youngster Jack Reed! The young centre charges onto a flat pass from Lockyer and crashes over out wide.
Brisbane Broncos 4-0 14 min: We apologise for the technical difficulties, but we are back online now. But don't worry, you haven't missed anything of note!
15 min: Thompson's kick towards the corner is too big and the Broncos will move the ball away from their own line.
17 min: TRY
TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Scored by James Tamou. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.
Tamou gets the Cowboys back on level terms! Broncos winger Gagai loses the ball on the first tackle and Tamou charges onto a Thurston pass from 10 metres and carries several Broncos defenders over the line.
North Queensland Cowboys 6-4
21 min: The Cowboys lose the ball on the first tackle as Bani raced down the sideline, before Reed bundled him towards the touchline and Bani loses the ball. Broncos on the attack.
26 min: TRY
TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Scored by Michael Bani. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.
Thurston inspires a scintillating Cowboys try! The classy halfback put second rower Cooper into space with a perfectly timed short-ball who drew Josh Hoffman before sending Bani on an unimpeded run to the try-line to extend the Cowboys lead.
North Queensland Cowboys 12-4
30 min: Tupou knocks on for the Cowboys after both sides successfully completed their sets of six over the last couple of minutes. Broncos on the attack.
31 min: With the Cowboys pressing the Broncos line, and his captain screaming for the ball, Cowboys five-eighth Thompson puts in a very disappointing kick, handing the ball back to the Broncos.
31 min: Penalty Broncos. Two men ruled to have been in the tackle and taken the ball.
35 min: Hunt coughs up the ball with the Broncos attacking the Cowboys line.
36 min: TRY
TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Scored by Will Tupou. Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.
Tupou scores a vintage Cowboys try, taking advantage of a perfect floating Thurston pass! The Cowboys are cutting the Broncos up through the middle of the ruck with Thurston and Bowen wreaking havoc.
North Queensland Cowboys 16-4
39 min: Forward pass Cowboys. Johnson's pass to Hall is dubious at best, but the referee has ruled it forward. The Broncos will have one last shot before halftime.
40 min: Halftime here at Suncorp Stadium where the North Queensland Cowboys lead the Brisbane Broncos 16-4. The Broncos will have plenty to do in the second half, namely their defence in the middle. Bowen and Thurston are causing all sorts of problems.
40 min: And we're underway in the second half. The Cowboys will have first use of the ball.
44 min: Both teams have started the second half well, but the Cowboys appear to be making more metres with the ball in possession,
45 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Broncos try.
45 min: TRY
TRY Brisbane Broncos
Scored by Jharal Yow Yeh. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful.
Yow Yeh gets the Broncos back in it! Lockyer's grubber kick catches a lazy Bowen off-guard as he attempted to get hold of the ball, before gifting it into the arms of Yow Yeh.
North Queensland Cowboys 16-10
46 min: Thaiday knocks on from the kick-off!
47 min: Thompson's kick on the last is claimed by Gagai and the Broncos work the ball off their own line.
50 min: Thurston's kick on the last into the in-goal gets the Cowboys a goal-line dropout from the Broncos.
51 min: Thompson knocks on at first receiver and the Broncos breathe easy for now.
51 min: PENALTY Broncos. The home crowd get their side a penalty after Sims and Scott hold on in the tackle for too long.
54 min: PENALTY Cowboys. Gillett is ruled to have promoted the ball after the tackle has been completed as he stretched out to plant the ball over the line.
60 min: Bowen's kick turns Yow Yeh around and back into his in-goal and he is confronted by a wall of Cowboys jerseys as the rain starts to tumble down again.
61 min: Bowen has hurt Sam Thaiday! Yes, you heard that right - Thaiday and Bowen came together and Thaiday came off second best, but Thaiday upends Scott from the ensuing penalty to let his teammates know he's fine.
61 min: Thompson knocks on.
63 min: The Broncos attempt their own version of Harlem Globetrotting play, but Hoffman knocks on Parker's flick pass as the Broncos look to draw level.
64 min: The Cowboys lose the ball and give the Broncos another shot in the attacking part of the field.
65 min: Tronc offers the ball back to the Cowboys, losing the ball in the tackle as "Broncos" chant reverberates around Suncorp.
66 min: Hunt knocks on from dummy half as the Broncos again lose the ball in good field position.
68 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Cowboys try.
69 min: No Try. A controversial decision in round one of the competition. Thurston-Bowen Inc were at it again and Bowen is ruled to have knocked the ball on as he attempted to force the ball with downward pressure.
69 min: Alex Glenn knocks the ball on as the Broncos again attack the Cowboys line.
70 min: PENALTY Broncos. Cooper tackles the Broncos support player on suspicion, despite the action not really playing a part in what occurred.
71 min: Goal-line dropout Cowboys. Lockyer's kick into the in-goal is perfect and Graham bats the ball over the deadball line.
73 min: Lockyer's ball is batted over the sideline by the Cowboys winger.
74 min: TRY
TRY Brisbane Broncos
Scored by Dane Gagai. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker unsuccessful.
Gagai scores out wide for the Broncos! Lockyer and Wallace perform a perfectly executed set-play to send the young winger over in the corner. Parker's conversion attempt falls short and wide.
North Queensland Cowboys 16-14
76 min: PENALTY Broncos. Cooper concedes the penalty after having his hands in the ruck.
77 min: Thaiday knocks the ball on as the Broncos push for the victory!
78 min: Willie Tupou knocks on at dummy half! One minute, 23 seconds remain for the Broncos to snatch this out of the fire!
79 min: Wallace kicks for the winger on just the third tackle! The Broncos will have three tackles to win.
80 min: Fulltime here at Suncorp Stadium and the North Queensland Cowboys have outlasted the Brisbane Broncos 16-14.