The Cowboys clinched a thrilling 28-26 victory in the dying moments of their Round 2 clash at Suncorp Stadium.
North Queensland fullback Matt Bowen was the hero, picking up the ball from a scrum while packed down at lock, slicing through the unprepared Broncos defence and racing 40 metres to score the match-winner.
It was heartbreaking for Broncos fans who’d witnessed their players come back from a 16-8 halftime deficit to seemingly have the game in the bag following Ben Teo’s 69th minute try down the right edge that grabbed them a 26-22 lead.
However, the Cowboys were certainly the better side in the first half, scoring three tries – with Dallas Johnson’s charge to score under the posts in just the fifth minute highlighting a glaring weakness in the Broncos’ goal-line defence.
The Broncos got back into the game early in the second half when prop Josh McGuire scored a try against the run of play – Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen dropped the ball after being collared by Matt Gillett 10 metres out from his goal line, with McGuire scooping up the spill and crossing unopposed.
Gerard Beale grabbed the Broncos a 20-16 lead in the 47th minute before an over-enthusiastic rush from the defensive line by skipper Sam Thaiday saw Johnathan Thurston check a last-tackle kick and instead put Bowen into space to snatch back the advantage with 25 minutes to play. Bowen’s second try in the 79th minute sealed the win.
Bowen and Thurston starred for the Cowboys, each adding a try assist and making a game-high six tackle-breaks, while Corey Parker (20 hit-ups) and Justin Hodges (155 metres, a try assist, a line-break and two offloads) were Brisbane’s best.