A capacity crowd has celebrated the first NRL match at Queensland Community Bank Stadium - despite Coronavirus fears and imminent fan lockout from next week - as they witnessed the Brisbane Broncos score a 28-21 victory over the Cowboys in Townsville.
The Cowboys were looking to open their new home in style but it was the Broncos who opened the scoring first when Jake Turpin left the home side defenders grasping at thin air when Brisbane's number 9 threw a massive dummy and sliced through.
Valentine Holmes' indifferent game had a high point when he got his first try in Cowboys colours, battling his way onto the outside of the Broncos defence to score a try. The Cowboys high-profile recruit couldn't convert his own try.
The tit-for-tat nature of the first half point scoring continued as Kotoni Staggs skipped his way to the tryline and the Broncos pushed their lead out to 8. The points kept going either way as Kyle Feldt took advantage of two Corey Oates errors and was able to get over in the corner. Holmes' missed conversion meant that the margin remained at 4. The Cowboys finished the scoring of the first half in unconventional methodology when Michael Morgan slotted a field goal as the clock ticked towards half-time which cut the Broncos lead to 12-9.
The home crowd was left to sit and watch the Broncos bolt away from the Cowboys as the home-side was left clutching at air when the Broncos when through the defence with ease. The Broncos first try came just a minute into the second half when Tevita Pangai was able to get over after the Cowboys weren't able to clean-up the kick from Michael Morgan.
Individual brilliance from David Fifita was the story of the next try from the Broncos as the youngster left the Cowboys defence dazed and confused as they couldn't deal with both his speed and footwork as he charged up the field. The Broncos added their final try on the hour mark when Jamayne Isaako was at the end of some good play from the Broncos as Pangai was able to drag the defence in before some deft passing found Isaako who scored the Broncos fifth of the night.
The Cowboys needed to make a comeback and two late tries gave them hope with Gavin Cooper scoring with 15 minutes to go, then Ben Hampton with 5 minutes left - but neither try was enough to produce a miracle as the hosts fell seven points short of victory, a Mitch Dunn try denied inside the final minute as the Bunker found an error in the build-up.
Next weekend, the Broncos head back home to Suncorp Stadium as they are robbed of a chance to play in front of a capacity crowd against the Rabbitohs on Friday night, whilst the Cowboys will travel to play in what will be the hollow cavern of ANZ Stadium where they play Canterbury on Thursday night.