The Brisbane Broncos scored a last-minute try to get out of jail 18-14 against the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium on Thursday night.
Brisbane's win in the desperately scrappy derby kept their finals hopes alive and effectively ending the Cowboys’ 2019 campaign in front of a crowd of more than 17,000.
The home team looked to have secured a much-needed with through a Jake Clifford penalty goal in the 71st minute but the Broncos' Jake had the last word when Turpin crossed for the decisive try.
In what was an error-riddled opening five minutes from both teams, the Broncos opened their account in the sixth minute. Anthony Milford combined with Jamayne Isaako to run the ball out of the Brisbane red zone before Isaako delivered an exquisite ball back on the inside to a waiting Milford who finished off the 85-metre move.
Ordinary play from the Cowboys continued for a good part of the opening 20 minutes through loose carries and the Broncos weren’t much better as the game was almost played in slow motion with multiple stop/starts.
Match: Cowboys v Broncos
Round 21 -
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
Andrew McCullough broke through the line in the 29th minute and the Broncos picked up repeat sets after Darius Boyd grubbered the ball through the defence, forcing Scott Drinkwater to take the ball out of play.
In the Broncos' next set, Turpin looked to have scored via a grubber nine minutes out from half-time but the Bunker ruled he was unable to ground the ball.
The Cowboys' first real attacking opportunity looked to have finished with an ineffective grubber behind the Broncos' line only for Wright to pounce right under the posts after Gehamat Shibasaki fumbled the ball in goal.
Fifita implements beastmode
After looking at a number of different angles, the video referee agreed with the on-field refs’ decision that Wright grounded the ball cleanly after juggling it before the putdown.
Frustrations boiled over just before the break with pushing and shoving between first Tevita Pangai Jr and Josh McGuire then Matthew Lodge and McGuire.
Thomas Flegler put pressure on Jake Clifford as he attempted to kick on the last in the 45th minute giving the Cowboys a fresh set deep in enemy territory. Clifford was able to find the line, only to be denied because of an obstruction from Gavin Cooper.
But Clifford couldn’t be denied 10 minutes later, finding space in the line and placing a perfectly weighted kick to finish the job. He also converted his own try, the Cowboys leading for the first time in the game after 57 minutes.
After a Jake Turpin high ball, Gideon Gela-Mosby couldn’t keep it in his grasp, handing the ball over to the Broncos for a new set of six inside the Cowboys' red zone.
Clifford brilliance gets Cowboys into the lead
David Fifita steamrolled his way to the line crossing over to the left of the uprights, Isaako banking another two to see the game locked up fifteen minutes out from full-time.
Moments later a Pangai Jr knock on handed the Cowboys the ball and a silly penalty in the shadows of the posts gave Clifford the opportunity to kick North Queensland into the lead 14-12.
The Broncos sealed the win with two minutes to go, Turpin sneaking through the line off the back of some speculator passing.