The Brisbane Broncos have rolled strugglers North Queensland, sending the Cowboys to their 11th loss in succession with a confident 32-18 win at Dairy Farmers Stadium tonight.
The Broncos came back nicely after the last Round heartstopping loss to the young Bulldogs. It was a sublime first 40 minutes from the Broncos in which they ran in 5 tries to crush early Cowboys hope of an upset win.
Heavily depleted in the personnel department it was a makeshift Cowboys side without the likes of Johnathan Thurston, Matt Bowen, Carl Webb, Luke O’Donnell and Jacob Lillyman. But unlike last week, the Broncos weren’t taking their opposition lightly – opening their account early and never taking the foot off the accelerator.
The Cowboys made a mini-rally in the second half two tries in the space of 5 minutes to winger John Williams and forwardp Shane Tronc to reduce the deficit to 14, but it was always going to be a massive ask of the home side.
The home side threatened to further shorten the deficit however a strong tackle from Joel Moon on Dayne Weston saved a certain try on the Broncos goal line.
Denan Kemp extinguished any hopes of a fairytale comeback for the beleaguered Cowboys when he crossed for his second try in the 64th minute only to see Michael Ennis further extend the lead with his fourth conversionÂ for the night.
Hardworking lock Steve Southern ensured the home side went down fighting with a try in the 78th minute to minimise the damage.
Thaiday had a hand in three of the five first half tries throwing the final pass for rookie Kaine Manihera to open the scoring in the fifth minute before crossing the line for two of his own, his second just before halftime off a bust from Peter Wallace.
It was a tough night for North Queensland’s back three with Ty Williams and John Williams committing errors close to their own line which led to Thaiday and Denan Kemp tries.
Darius Boyd inflicted further damage for the visitors scoring a try before halftime while the Cowboys best chance of the half came through a break to Mark Henry who beat several defenders down the sideline before Karmichael Hunt shut down an attempted offload.
In further bad news for the already injury ravaged Cowboys Ben Harris rolled an ankle and Ash Graham injured his shoulder.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett was scathing of his side’s performance despite the winning score line.
“No, we were rubbish,” Bennett said.
“We looked good when we ran on, I’m not worrying about them (Cowboys) we are going pretty ordinary.”
Bennett was particularly critical of his side’s second half where it invited the home side back into the contest.
“It wasn’t even a case of scoring more points, they were a lot more disciplined in the second half and just making sure we didn’t invite them back into the game.
“If you are playing well everything looks after itself and we are not playing well.”
“We could be leading the comp right now and still be not capable of beating anyone that’s really going to matter when the time comes.”
North Queensland coach Ian Millward was left to lament an inept first half display.
“We got a bit more ball I think our completion rate in the second half was 68 percent and the first half it was a pretty ordinary 35 percent.
“You can’t win any sort of game under that sort of circumstance.
“I was pretty disappointed with the amount of work we had to do and I am pretty disappointed with how softly we gave the ball up.”