Kotoni Staggs may have his eye on playing five-eighth next season but Tyson Gamble made a case for the pair to stay where they are after starring in Brisbane's 37-18 win over the Cowboys on Friday night.
Playing just his fourth game of the season, Staggs had six tackle breaks, two line breaks and scored a try in each half as the Broncos snatched back Queensland derby bragging rights after going down 19-18 in round nine.
Broncos coach Kevin Walters hit the reset button following the team's round 17 bye and despite a shaky second-half effort against Wests Tigers he has seen enough in the past three weeks to convince him there's better times ahead in 2022.
Staggs and Gamble couldn't have put their hands up any higher for further responsibility as the right edge fired with five of the Broncos' six tries at Suncorp Stadium.
Match: Broncos v Cowboys
Round 20 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
"You can see why a lot of clubs were chasing Kotoni and we were the last club standing thankfully," Walters said post-match.
"Tonight he showed that in defence and attack. He's not moving anywhere [positionally] at the moment I wouldn't have thought.
"We'll have a whole pre-season to sort that out with him. The thing is he's got to be comfortable playing that.
"Tyson is a competitive guy, big strong body. I love his competitive nature more than anything. He's got a few rough edges.
"He likes directing the opposition as well which is what we're trying to get out of his game. He's still learning himself and doing a terrific job.
The pass from Gamble and the footwork from Staggs
"I thought they all came together again nicely tonight. You can see it at training and it's now transferring onto the field."
In stark contrast, Cowboys coach Todd Payten was left lamenting a lack of desire as the men from Townsville slumped to a seventh straight loss.
With both Queensland outfits languishing towards the bottom of the ladder, it was the Broncos who iced their chances early to cross for four tries in the first half to take a 22-12 lead.
With Jake Turpin forced from the field with an ankle injury replacement hooker Danny Levi made his mark in the 48th minute when he found Staggs on the short side and the rampaging centre's second try made it 28-12.
The visitors bounced back through 150-gamer Kyle Feldt in the corner to reduce the deficit and they looked to be on a roll when the prolific winger chased a Scott Drinkwater grubber three minutes later and looked to have grounded the ball.
The decision was referred to the Bunker and a call of no-try took the wind out of the Cowboys' sails.
Centre of attention: Staggs staying put out wide for now
A penalty goal to Jamayne Isaako with 10 minutes to play made it 30-18 before a late field goal to Gamble and a try to Riki iced the victory.
Forward leader Payne Haas was again monumental for the Broncos with 20 runs for 172 metres while Jason Taumalolo did his best to inspire the Cowboys with 174 metres from 17 runs.
"It was a nice win tonight," Walters said.
"I reminded them about how good a winning dressing room is. You can't beat it.
Dearden glides through the Broncos to score on the last tackle
"There were some periods of the game where I thought the Cowboys were getting their way.
"The plan is to get something out of the next five games and I believe we can."
The Broncos' win is likely to come at a cost, however, with Turpin suffering a syndesmosis injury that Walters described as possibly season-ending.