North Queensland Cowboys vs Brisbane Broncos: 6 things we learned

The Broncos have snapped a five match losing streak against the Cowboys in the Queensland Derby with a 20-10 win, leaving the Cowboys finals hopes hanging in the balance.

1. Cowboys lacking clinical edge

The second half, in particular, highlighted a problem which has plagued the Cowboys throughout this season. It is their inability to capitalise on the opportunities which have been presented to them. They dominated possession and had a one-sided penalty count in their favour but still only managed to score 10 points.

It has been a similar story during the rest of 2017 too. In try-scoring terms, they are ranked outside of the top eight, having touched down 76 four-pointers. The Cowboys were known for having a potent attack over the last seven seasons but the same cannot be said of 2017.

2. Poor first half showing costly for Cowboys

The Cowboys’ display was substandard in the first half. The game was played at a rapid pace, as is to be expected in battles between these two sides, however it was the Broncos who adapted to the flow better, shooting out to a 14-0 lead within 30 minutes. The home side did not do themselves any favours by making more errors and missing more tackles than their opponents during this period. 

However, the Cowboys would lessen the margin in the 33rd minute courtesy of a Gavin Cooper try. They went into half time trailing 14-6. The second half was a different story at the hosts dominated. It was only in the final seconds of the match that the Cowboys were awarded for their efforts with a second score. The match could have been even closer if not for the Cowboys’ poor start.

3. Broncos return to winners circle

After their surprisingly horrific display at home against the Eels, the Broncos were inevitably going to be fired up and desperate to win, especially with second spot up for grabs. Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett claimed that the heavy loss was due to the players having an off day. This result proves he was correct.

In the first half, the Broncos played slick football to build up a decisive 14-0 lead within the opening half an hour. The performance against Parramatta was extremely poor but a week is a long time in sport and the Broncos look to be back.

4. Defence the key for the Broncos

The Broncos’ first half was all about their enterprising attack but the defence in the second stanza was what proved to be the difference. Keeping their opponents score down is something which most Bennett coached side are renowned for and they showed exactly why. The Cowboys had attempted to mount a comeback with constant waves of attacks on the Broncos line but they only just made it into double figures. 

Parramatta pierced through their defence at will last week but they were unrecognisable from that performance against North Queensland. After cutting the deficit before half time, the Cowboys’ second score did not come until the latter stages while they only made two line breaks in the whole game.

5. Broncos earn top four finish

It would’ve been unlikely but the Broncos could have finished as low as fifth had they lost and other results gone against them. With their talented squad being led by Bennett, another poor performance was always going to be unlikely, particularly with the added incentive of a Queensland derby.

They did not need to worry about a mathematical miracle costing a top four spot, as they got the job done themselves. The victory puts them into second place however the Roosters can reclaim that spot should they, as expected, beat the Titans on Saturday.

6. Nervous wait for the Cowboys

Conversely, this defeat in the Queensland Derby means that the Cowboys’ destiny is out of their hands. Their finals prospects are hanging in the balance and the other games across this weekend will be watched by a good portion of nervous Cowboys fans.

If both the Sea Eagles and the Dragons win, then the Cowboys will drop out of the top eight. However, if only one of the above are victorious then they will still compete in the finals. Cowboys fans may well be becoming Panters and Bulldogs fans for one weekend only. 

What were your highlights from Brisbane’s win over the Cowboys? Let us know in the comments below.

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Rob Sebastian


My name is Rob Sebastian. I absolutely love my sports, especially tennis and all forms of football. I love playing them as well, as I play tennis. I am a masters student, as well as a public servant and owner of a cleaning business.