Dream Queensland derby as Broncos survive
"I thought the game was more important than the politics."
With those words penned in his book, Man In The Mirror, master coach Wayne Bennett explained why he thought it was a wise move to suggest the Broncos play North Queensland in Townsville in Week Two of the 2004 Finals Series rather than a barren Sydney Football Stadium, as per the schedule.
The Cowboys recorded their first ever victory over the Broncos in that Semi-Final and in the process sent Brisbane packing out of the finals. And now, after a stunning turn of events in Round 26 conspired to deliver a dream Cowboys v Broncos Elimination Final next Saturday night, the Queensland rivals get to renew finals hostilities in Week One of the 2014 Telstra Premiership Finals Series.
The Cowboys moved into fourth position on the ladder with a 30-16 win over the Sea Eagles on Saturday night while the Broncos have had to watch on nervously from afar as the Raiders, Titans and Panthers all recorded wins to keep their season alive.
In the end it was a 13-point superior points differential that saw the Broncos qualify for the finals ahead of the Warriors, the Panthers' 22-6 victory in the final game of the regular season earning Penrith a much-deserved double-shot in the finals race and a lifeline for the Broncos who lost 22-12 to the Storm on Friday night.
By finishing in fifth position the Cowboys earn the right to host their Elimination Final against their Queensland cousins and do so as one of the form teams of the competition following their comprehensive win over Manly.
When they last met the Cowboys recorded a 27-14 win in Townsville in Round 9 and North Queensland have been victorious in both finals played against the Broncos, a 33-16 Qualifying Final victory ending Brisbane's season in 2012 while in 2004, after the Broncos' magnanimous gesture, the home side won 10-0.