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Corey Oates runs away for the opening try of the 2015 NRL Grand Final.

How we rated the 17 Brisbane Broncos players in their heart-breaking loss to the Cowboys in a classic 2015 NRL Grand Final.


1. Darius Boyd: Muted opening 40 minutes that was restricted to tough runs from his own end and important assists in defence. Brave take early in the second half for which he copped a forearm to the chin but earned no penalty. Faultless display without being brilliant. 7

2. Corey Oates: Second touch was a 70-metre charge to score the first try of the Grand Final and stopped Kyle Feldt from scoring in the 13th minute with a desperate tackle. Had accumulated 119m by half-time and continually got the Cowboys defence going backwards. More important runs in the second half and the lone spilt bomb that his team defended. 7.5

3. Jack Reed: Provided the last pass for Oates's try and backed up to score one of his own six minutes before half-time. Copped a couple of heavy knocks early in the second half but battled bravely. Some enormous efforts in defence and a crucial tackle on Feldt to earn a repeat set or his team late in the game. One of the best on ground, cruel for the Feldt try to come down his edge. 8

4. Justin Hodges (c):  Restricted to customary runs from dummy-half early on and appeared hampered by back injury. A rock defensively on Thurston's preferred edge to attack. Goes out a champion. 6.5

5. Jordan Kahu: Safe under the high ball, particularly a spectacular leap to earn his side seven tackles two minutes before half-time. Kicked two important goals with Parker off the field. 7

6. Anthony Milford: Had a major hand in the first try and another long-range line break to swing momentum the way of his side. Looked dangerous throughout and defused dangerous situation to end the first half. The most potent player on the park and excellent in defence also. 8.5

7. Ben Hunt: Shaky start with poor last tackle options and a dropped ball with his team on the attack. Ran the ball regularly on the last tackle and only served to put his teammates under pressure. Kicking game a long way from his best. Placed on report for a nasty tackle on Kane Linnett three minutes from full-time and spilt the kick-off in golden point. 5.5

8. Sam Thaiday: Tough carries early and plenty of work in defence but missed the tackle on James Tamou close to the line that allowed the Cowboys to take the lead. Came up with some inspirational charges late in the game when his team needed a lift. 7.5

9. Andrew McCullough: Topped the tackle count by half-time with 23 and was used as a kicking option, his assignment to find the sideline. Given a brief rest midway through the second half before returning to shore up the middle third. 7

10. Adam Blair: Brave offload to spark the Broncos' first try and busy in defence in the middle of the ruck. Menaced the Cowboys playmakers all night, including a special hit on Thurston with 10 to play. Made a total of 40 tackles and every one of them counted. 8

11. Alex Glenn: Few chances with the ball but got through plenty of defence on the left edge, making sure Anthony Milord was never exposed. 6.5

12. Matt Gillett: Untimely error that led to Cowboys' first try but pounced on a Thurston error in the 34th minute and busted the Cowboys defence to put Jack Reed over against the run of play. Try-saving tackle on Coote 17 minutes from full-time a massive moment in the game that kept his side in front. 7.5

13. Corey Parker: Earned his team the first penalty from customary charge and coolly slotted the shot at goal or first points. Had 70 metres, 19 tackles and two offloads in his first stint and finished the 80 minutes with 166m and 43 tackles. A typically Corey Parker performance. 8

14. Jarrod Wallace: Good yards after contact especially in the first half, racking up 81 metres by half-time after replacing Adam Blair in the 21st minute. 6.5

15. Mitchell Dodds: Strong charges off the bench and 15 tackles in limited minutes. 6

16. Joe Ofahengaue: Not used until the 53rd minute but first carry was a beauty from deep in Broncos territory. Only four carries but for 38m. 6

17. Kodi Nikorima: Very limited minutes midway through the second half to make an impact. 5

Match report: Thurston kicks Cowboys to premiership
NRL Grand Final: Five key points
Cowboys player ratings
Match highlights
Magic Moment: Feldt's late, late try
Magic Moment: Thurston wins it
WATCH: Winning skippers' speech
WATCH: Hodges' post-game speech

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