Cowboys buck Broncos from finals
North Queensland Cowboys have ended the Brisbane Broncos season with 33-16 elimination final win.PT0M0S 620 349
That's the end of the road for Petero Civoniceva and the Broncos but may just be the start of something special from the Cowboys. They win 33-16 in front of wild fans in Townsville and book a date with Manly next weekend. After that performance, even though it's away from home, you'd have to think they are a terrific chance of knocking over the premiers.
The Cowboys looked slick and confident in attack and had far too much for the Broncos to handle. Things were interesting in the middle of the second half as the Broncos made a mini-surge but they couldn't get close enough to really have the Cowboys quivering. Matt Bowen, in game 250, was absolutely sublime and halfback Michael Morgan scored three tries.
The men from the north look to be a complete package. They have strike out wide running off Thurston and Bowen and James Tamou and Matt Scott just dominated Brisbane in the middle of the park. Justin Hodges was a constant danger but he couldn't conjure enough tricks to keep Brisbane alive.
The game marks the end of the wonderful career of Civoniceva, who retires as one of the game's great props and ambassadors. Gordon Tallis ended his career with a semi-final loss in 2004 in Townsville. Now Civoniceva does the same.
FULLTIME Cowboys 33 Broncos 16.
78th min The game has been decided but Matt Scott grabbing his shoulder. They would hate to lose him. Looks ok - he's moving back into the line. And there's a field goal from Bowen to make it 33-16. Just for fun.
76th min Thurston slings it through to make it 32-16. Three tries for 20-year-old halfback Michael Morgan, who loves taking on the line. Yet another promising Queensland halfback in the making. Production line north of the border.
75th min Reed drops it cold on his line! Cowboys get a gift there. Morgan thinks he's got number three.... he has. That's a TRY to the Cowboys and they will meet Manly next weekend. Brisbane's season is over, as is the career of Petero Civoniciva. It's 30-16 with a kick in waiting.
73rd min Clever stuff from Wallace... kicks from himself and regathers but the Cowboys manage to bring him down. North Queensland now the side on the back foot but you'd think the clock will be their best friend. Not enough time for the Broncos. Cowboys 26 Broncos 16.
70th min Brisbane win a repeat set and must score now. And they do! Hodges all over it and Copley dives over in the corner for the TRY! Big kick coming up for Wallace. Magical pass from Hodges. Copley sprints and finishes like a boss. We have a game on our hands. It's 26-16 as Wallace lines up the kick... misses it.
67th min That's exactly what they don't need. Terrible play from Ben Hunt. He runs from dummy half right into James Tamou at marker, then spills the ball and essentially hands it to him. Now a penalty to the Cowboys. Any sort of score here seals it, if it's not already a done deal.
66th min Pete Wallace kicks true and it's 26-12 to the Cowboys with just under 15 minutes to play. Broncos need a very quick score here to give them any chance of surviving.
64th min Linnett has done a pretty good job on Hodges last night. Brisbane seeking out their big centre now as they try to find a miracle to get back into this game. And they've made it over the line for Sam Thaiday to score the TRY for Brisbane. A forward pass earlier from Segeyaro gave the Broncos an opportunity and, well, there could be life in this yet. It's 26-10 with a kick on the way.
60th min Another Brisbane mistake takes their error count to 11. The Cowboys heat it up again. Brisbane on their heels but hold on to keep them out.
56th min Far too good. Brent Tate gets the TRY for the Cowboys and that's surely the end of the road for Brisbane. Bowen just sublime - what a player and what a performance in his 250th. Took the Brisbane kick on the fly and skinned the defence, lining up the one-on-one to put Tate clear. It's 26-6 and this could get even nastier if Brisbane don't tighten things up.
53rd min Tough call against the Broncos. Taumalolo lost the ball in the tackle but it was ruled a strip. A tad harsh perhaps and the end result is Thurston lining up a shot to take them past two converted tries clear. Curves it through - Cowboys 20 Broncos 6.
50th min Keystone cops there. Alex Glenn throws a crazy pass in his own half and Morgan skips clear. He's caught and then Brent Tate picks it up and throws it right into touch. Let's all forget that just happened. Cowboys 18 Broncos 6.
47th min Wallace thumps it through and it's 18-6. That's made things interesting at the very least. I wouldn't think the Cowboys would panic but another try to the Broncos and we have a game on our hands. They scored three in the second half against Penrith last week so can score in patches.
45th min Te'o turns it over. The offload was on but no Broncos in support and it goes right to a blue and yellow shirt. The Cowboys take it to the Broncos line and now Beale makes a massive break! And now Norman gets clear and he's gone over! Gone upstairs though as they look for an obstruction. They've gone 100m in two plays and good to see Norman carry the ball - he doesn't run it enough. Going to be a try I'm sure... it is. TRY to the Broncos and it's 18-4 with a kick on the way.
41st min Play has resumed and the Broncos need a spell of about 10 for none to get back in this game. More easy metres though from the Cowboys - Tamou and Matt Scott just rumbling onwards like renegade bulldozers and the Broncos have little answer.
HALFTIME Cowboys 18 Broncos 0.
39th min Ad-lib touch footy style attack from the Cowboys and the Broncos do brilliantly to hold on. They trail by a mile but will take a lot of confidence from that defensive effort near the break.
39th min The Cowboys had them on toast on the right but Thurston couldn't get it away! Loses it as he tries a quick kick but Brisbane have knocked it on. Surely the Broncos can't hold on here. They are out on their feet.
38th min McCullough has tried his best for Brisbane but knocks it on from dummy half as he tried to pass it on the fifth tackle. Cowboys get a massive chance to end this contest before halftime.
32nd min TRY to the Cowboys. They are absolutely on fire and the North Queenslanders have it on a string. The kick through from Bowen is plucked majestically from the air by Morgan and he races clear for his second try. Exceptional football. Thurston makes it 18-0 to the Cowboys.
30th min Hoffman still on the deck for Brisbane after a crowd of players compete for the bomb. Brisbane looking knackered. They play at a quick pace, which is great if you can turn that into points. They haven't at the moment and the Cowboys are carving out huge metres when they go forward. It's 12-0 to North Queensland.
27th min Hoffman stands firm on that Bowen bomb but Reed pinged for taking out Bowen, who kicked the ball and chased. Thurston going to eat an easy two points, which is a strange option. They have them in all sorts. Anyhoo, he gets it and the score is 12-0 to the Cowboys.
25th min McCullough 40-20. Brisbane feed the scrum about 15m out. But they lose it on the first tackle through Norman! Terrible stuff from the Broncos. Unbelievable.
23rd min Break for the Cows. Tate drops the Bowen pass just a few metres from his own line but Copley is ruled to have got a touch on it first. Just seeing the replay, I'm not too sure about that but Tate was positive as he made his thoughts known to the officials. Cowboys 10 Broncos 0.
21st min Hoffman gets the key touch this time. Thurston just killing it and his grubber is a good one. Hoffman gets a hand to it and knocks it clear. Cowboys get a fresh set. Te'o on for the Broncos - they need something from their bench man and get a break here as Matt Scott knocks it on to dissolve any pressure being built.
19th min Thurston converts. North Queensland lead 10-0.
17th min Awful mistake from Brisbane and it's a second TRY for the Cowboys! Hoffman drops a sitter off the Thurston bomb and Morgan just picks it up and plonks it down. Lots of good defensive work undone there by the Brisbane fullback and the Cowboys go out to an 8-0 lead with a kick on the way.
15th min Feel for Copley there... looks to have injured his leg and he limped back the kick return - then was cleaved in twain by Dallas Johnson. Payne has a cork to the leg and could yet be back, reports Nine's Darren Lockyer from the sidelines.
13th min Segeyaro on with injury dramas to Payne. That kick wasn't very smart though as he dribbles it right to Copley on the fifth and final tackle. Cowboys lead 4-0 in a high-tempo sort of affair. The Broncos have got themselves in the game though and that's huge for them if they are to upset the home side.
10th min Double movement! Reed was so close but just couldn't resist having an extra dig. Think he dropped it as well as he tried to extend the arm. No dice and the Cowboys keep the 4-0 lead.
8th min Jack Reed gets the Brisbane cross-kick and goes close but his offload goes to - yep - Bowen. Now the Cowboys counter and drop it as Cooper forces the pass. Brisbane back with the ball. Good fast game at the moment with both sides keen to attack. A big difference from the other game tonight, when Melbourne put on a clinic for the inept Rabbitohs.
5th min TRY to the Cowboys. Matt Bowen gets a miracle ball from Ash Graham and goes over for the four-pointer. Graham was into touch it seemed but he got off the deck and the Hail Mary finds the fullback. That's a try in his 250th game for the brilliant little Cowboy. It's 4-0 as Thurston misses that fairly simple conversion.
2nd min Cowboys get their first set away and Dale Copley goes all Karmichael Hunt on the kick return. Smashes into the defence and Brisbane's first set is a good one. The Cowboys almost muck up that bomb but Morgan runs it out of the in-goal and an early emergency is cleared. And now Beale knocks it on for the Broncos as he fields the kick. He slipped just before he grabbed it. That's bad luck but it sets up the Cowboys beautifully.
7.51pm Teams on the park. Justin Hodges celebrating his 200th NRL game. He must deliver if Brisbane are to be any chance. Matt Bowen and Johnathan Thurston man-hug and we are away.
Preamble Good evening everyone. Thanks for joining our coverage of Cowboys-Broncos. The North Queenslanders have the form and the superstars but the Broncos don't believe for a moment they are making up the numbers in the top eight. Let's see if they can spring an upset at Dairy Farmers Stadium.