Brisbane has secured their fifth win of the season to defeat the Cowboys by 37-18 in an open affair at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
Broncos five-eighth Tyson Gamble finished the game with three try assists and a field goal, while Kotoni Staggs also bagged a double in easily Brisbane's best performance in 2021 with the home side running in six tries. The win all but assures Kevin Walters' men will avoid successive Wooden Spoons in his first year as coach.
The game for the Cowboys was marred by a Video Referee howler, when Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt was denied back to back tries late in the game. Feldt and five-eighth Scott Drinkwater looked to have swung the momentum for North Queensland, when the Bunker intervened, ruling that Feldt had knocked on in attempting to ground the ball. Replays suggested that the evidence was not sufficient for the on-field decision to be overturned, however the Cowboys still made some crucial errors in key moments which was more to blame for the disappointing derby loss.
With both sides a long distance from their high-profile clashes of recent times, there is never any love lost in the Queensland derby. And it was the Broncos struck first, when Tyson Gamble rolled the ball in goal for his winger Jamayne Isaako who flew down the sideline to get to the ball first and score the opening try of the night to give the Broncos a 4-0 lead early.
Isaako was involved again minutes later when the off contract outside back made a break down the right-hand side, producing a kick inside for support. The ball was then picked up by Kobe Hetherington and sent wide to Alex Glenn who dummied past the Cowboys cover defence to score a great try.
The Cowboys needed to get in the game and did so, when Scott Drinkwater took the ball to the line and found his fullback in Jake Granville who crashed over to get the Cowboys on the board and trail by 10-4 after 21 minutes.
North Queensland then made an error off the kickoff through Francis Molo and the ball was immediately shifted wide to the right for the Broncos strike weapon Kotoni Staggs to score, with Isaako kicking the Broncos away to a 16-4 lead.
The Cowboys hit back though, when Drinkwater put up a bomb on the last which saw Isaako go from hero to villain when he spilled the ball which fell at the feet of backrower Tom Gilbert who found his halfback in Tom Dearden. Dearden then threw a dummy to scamper over for a satisfying try against his former club and keep his side in touch.
Brisbane then scored their fourth try, when halfback Brodie Croft put damaging backrower Jordan Riki through a gap and then provided support on the inside to score under the posts and the Broncos led 22-10 following Isaako's conversion.
The Cowboys received a late penalty just seconds before the break, when Brisbane were penalised for a high tackle from Ethan Bullemor on Reece Robson and Cowboys narrowed the lead to 22-12 through Drinkwater's penalty goal on halftime.
After the break, the Broncos struck first, when off the back of a Coen Hess error, Kotoni Staggs slipped down the right touch line from close range, following a neat pass from Danny Levi from dummy half to score his second try of the night and extend the Brisbane lead 28-12.
The Cowboys then received a piggy back up field, following a second high tackle in the match from backrower Rhys Kennedy. Cowboys five-eighth Drinkwater then threw a superb cut out pass close to the line, which hit Kyle Feldt on the chest and Feldt then stepped back inside the Broncos cover defence to score in the corner. Drinkwater converted from the sideline and it was 28-18 with a quarter of the match remaining.
The Video Referee then denied the Cowboys what looked to be a certain second try to Kyle Feldt following a deft grubber from Drinkwater. However, despite the replay suggesting a clean put down by Feldt, somehow the Video Referee disagreed, ruling a Cowboys knock on.
The Broncos were then handed a gift penalty, following a short drop out attempt gone wrong, with Kyle Feldt penalised for being in front of the kicker. Jamayne Isaako added the extras and extended the home side's lead to 30-18.
Tyson Gamble then put an exclamation mark on the win with a field goal to make it a 13-point lead and then moments later produced a neat kick over the top which found Jordan Riki who scored a superb try to give Brisbane their biggest win of the season.
The Broncos now head to the Sunshine Coast next Thursday night, where they face the Knights with a win getting them far away from the cellar dwelling Bulldogs in last place.
The Cowboys face their second Queensland derby in a row, when they head down to CBUS Super Stadium to take on the Titans next Sunday.