Cowboys prop Jordan McLean.

The turn in momentum that saw the Cowboys come home over the top of the Broncos on Thursday night was sparked by a simple instruction from coach Paul Green to middle forwards Matt Scott, Jordan McLean and Jason Taumalolo.

"Start running, big fellas," Green told the trio after Brisbane had just moved out to a 12-point lead during the second half.

Green's message worked a treat as his star forwards - two of whom (McLean and Scott) have missed large chunks of 2018 - paved the way for a win in the latest chapter of the superb rivalry between the two clubs.

"If you look at the start of the game and the back end of the game they did a great job through there," Green said of his big men.

"I was always confident, we just lost a bit of control through the middle there, the ruck quickened up a bit and we couldn't do much about it.

"We had no ball either, they had 12 sets and we had five, so it's really hard to defend that amount of possession for that period so it was tough for the guys that were out there."

Green credits the difference in experience as the defining factor over the final stages.

"It's probably an area where the Broncos have some good forwards but they don't have as much experience as some of our guys," he said.

"Those guys did an enormous job for us, not that stats are everything but if you look at their run metres it was really good to see and Johnno and Te Maire and those blokes got on the back of those."

The platform laid by the Cowboys' forwards was all Thurston needed to take control of the game, but the captain was proud to see young five-eighth Jake Clifford and fullback Martin step up around him.

"I was really proud of Cliffo tonight on that right edge, there were a couple of times there where he told me to beat it and get out of the way," Thurston said. 

"He's starting to find his feet there, it's taken a little while but that's what we want from him.

"And [Martin] is just a natural footballer, he looks for the ball, he's got a great football brain… it was a great team effort tonight and I'm extremely proud of the boys."