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The victory means the Cowboys will take on the Sydney Roosters next weekend, with the winner that match advancing to the NRL grand final.
It is the first time the Cowboys have ever defeated Brisbane and they did so in style, keeping the Broncos scoreless and eliminating them from the 2004 competition.
In a low scoring encounter, both sides played some enterprising football with the North Queenslanders attacking Brisbane just wide of the ruck. The Broncos showed plenty of attacking flare but as the scoreline suggests, they were unable to crack a solid Cowboys defensive line.
It was a less than ideal exit for Broncos skipper Gorden Tallis who, in his last first grade match, was forced into the dressing rooms for treatment just before kickoff. But he was able to return to the field later in the first half.
With Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen and half back Nathan Fien creating havoc around the ruck, the home side were able to get on the board with a Josh Hannay penalty goal after 15 minutes. A kick-and-chase try to five eighth David Myles in the 25th minute put North Queensland further ahead and at half time, the Cowboys held a slender 8-0 lead.
The second half was a highly entertaining show of end-to-end football, but with only one penalty goal to the Cowboys in the 50th minute.
Eventually, time simply ran out for the Broncos as the Cowboys got home on the back of some tremendous cover defence amidst scenes of unrestrained jubliation from the Townsville faithful.
Dairy Farmers Stadium Referee: Tim Mander
COWBOYS 10 Tries: Myles Goals: Hannay 3/3 defeated BRONCOS 0
By the clock: Pre-match: Packed house at Dairy Farmers are on hand to see if the Cowboys can pull off another semi-final victory. Broncos coming onto the field. The Cowboys side are greeted with a massive cheer.
NEWS - Gorden Tallis, in what may his last game for the Broncos, has reportedly pulled a hamstring before going on the field. He is sidelined and suddenly in doubt.
7 min: NEWS - Cowboys defend well, withstand repeats sets and are now on the attack.
11 min: Still 0-0 and Tallis still sidelined. Broncos throwing everything at Cowboys who defend superbly.
NEWS - a few Broncos looking tired. During a tackle, Darren Lockyer copped a kick in the head and has opened up a cut. Gorden Tallis is coming on.
15 min: PENALTY GOAL - Cowboys. Right in front and 30m out for Josh Hannay. Cowboys 2-0
21 min: NEWS - Broncos now rising to the occasion. Winger Stuart Kelly with the try line in front, is unable to catch the ball and it's a let off for the Cowboys.
25 min: TRY - Cowboys. David Myles scores following a kick-chase. Broncos fullback Karmichael Hunt is unable to get to the ball and Myles slides through to score next to posts. Survives video ref scrutiny for off-side. Conversion Hannay. Cowboys 8-0
30 min: NEWS - Broncos defence is tremendous as the Cowboys repeatedly attempt to punch holes up the middle of the ruck, the smaller Cowboys causing as much, if not more, havoc than the forwards. Tonie Carroll being a stand-out for the Broncos with 21 tackles so far.
38 min: NEWS - Brncos get a relieving penalty and will have the last shot at the try line before half time. NEWS - Darren Lockyer knocks on while under pressure. Great defence.
HALF TIME SUMMARY: This is a tremendous game of semi-final footy with both sides defending superbly. The Broncos in a bit of trouble though with Gorden Tallis not looking 100% and the other forwards in Shane Webcke, Tonie Carroll and Petro Civoniceva all looking over-worked. Darren Lockyer being heavily marked and also off his game. But the Broncos are scrambling well and are not out of it yet. The Cowboys are looking more confident as the game goes on. Fullback Matt Bowen and the other smaller men are driving the defence to distraction. The forwards are doing more than enough, running from dummy half and finding some easy yards. Leigh McWilliams, Paul Rauhihi and Shane Tronc are all looking the goods, the battle of the packs being typified when the Cowboys scrum pushed the Broncos off the mark, to saw ball come their way against the feed. Half time score: Cowboys 8-0
Second half underway....
45 min: NEWS - still 8-0 to the Cowboys. Some great attack and defence from both sides in the opening minutes of the second half. Cowboys fans realising that they still have a long way to go.
50 min: PENALTY GOAL - Cowboys. Follows ball stripping against Hunt. A few tempers starting to flare with some suggestion that a biting had happened, but no complaint lodged. Hannay makes no mistake, 10m to the left of posts. Cowboys 10-0
58 min: NEWS - still 10-0 to the Cowboys. Broncos attacking and going wide on numerous occasions but plenty of Cowboys there in cover. A great show of attack vs defence.
67 min: NEWS - still 10-0. Paul Rauhihi is being rested for the Cowboys. Danger period for the Cowboys.
75 min: NEWS - still 10-0. Time running out for the Broncos.
78 min: NO TRY - Cowboys. Josh Hannay denied after an exciting kick-and-chase into the in-goal is eventually knocked on. The Cowboys have this match in the bag. The Broncos cannot win.
FULLTIME: The Cowboys have pulled off a sensational victory, keeping the Broncos scoreless. Amazing scenes in Townsville. The Cowboys now need to win one more match, against minor premiers the Roosters, to make the grand final.
FULL TIME SUMMARY: The Cowboys have pulled off their first ever victory over the Broncos in perfect fashion, keeping them scoreless and in a semi-final match. Not the perfect send-off for Gorden Tallis or the Broncos who never gave up, backing themselves right up until the end. But injuries and home town atmosphere were just too much to overcome in the end. For the Cowboys, they tackled against some of the best attack in the premiership and continually came up trumps. Travis Norton and Aaron Payne worked hard in defence as did Paul Rauhihi and Luke O'Donnell who carted the ball up all night. The stand-out player was fullback Matt Bowen who troubled the bigger men all night, making plenty of metres every time he touched the ball.
Overall, the stats were fairly equal with the Cowboys enjoying slightly more possession. Fulltime: Cowboys 10 - Broncos 0
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Bowen (Cowboys) 2 - P Rauhihi (Cowboys) 1 - L O'Donnell (Cowboys) -----------------------------------------