North Queensland Cowboys vs Brisbane Broncos: NRL Finals live scores, blog
Ben Te'o in action during the NRL Round 26, Brisbane Broncos v Manly Sea Eagles. AAP Image/Action Photographics/Charles Knight
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Nth Queensland Vs. Brisbane
2012 NRL Premiership Season, 9 September, 2012
|Dairy Farmers Stadium, Kirwan, QLD|
|Nth Queensland 33 defeated Brisbane 16|
|Referee: M Cecchin|
|Touch judges: D Abood & Luke Potter|
One of the biggest Queensland derbies in recent memory kicks off tonight as the North Queensland Cowboys host the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL’s first elimination final. Join us for NRL live scores and commentary from 7.45pm AEST.
After starting the season very well, the Broncos fell away badly during the second half of the year, suffering a six match losing streak that almost saw them miss the playoffs.
The Broncos however did just enough last week to defeat the Panthers in a scrappy contest and secure a place in the finals.
Brisbane’s reward for securing eighth position on the NRL ladder is a trip to Townsville, where they play eternal rivals and premiership dark horses the Cowboys.
North Queensland has won its past four matches and finished the regular season as the NRL’s best attacking team.
In an ominous warning for the Broncos, the Cowboys put Cronulla to the sword away from home last week despite the fact that Neil Henry’s men had nothing to play for.
If their strong win against the Sharks is anything to go by, the Cowboys certainly mean business in the finals and will torment Brisbane if the Broncos reproduce last week’s effort against Penrith.
While the Broncos will certainly test the Cowboys upfront, halves Peter Wallace and Corey Norman simply have to fire tonight if Brisbane is a chance of keeping their season alive.
Brisbane’s attack was awful last week against the Panthers, with Wallace and Norman losing their way constantly when positioned deep inside Penrith territory.
As a result, Brisbane’s attack lacked direction and momentum, with far too many players receiving the football standing still inside Penrith’s half.
Given that their offence is struggling, expect the Broncos to keep things nice and simple up the middle of the field in a bid to win the arm wrestle and gain territorial advantage.
Big men Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker, Josh McGuire, Alex Glenn and Ben Te’o are all tremendously strong mobile forwards and will relish the prospect of aiming up against Cowboys props James Tamou and Matthew Scott.
If the Broncos start to dominate territory, the Cowboys will be vulnerable given that their defence continues to crack when placed under severe pressure.
Unlike Melbourne, Manly and Canterbury, North Queensland do struggle to aim up defensively on occasions and will leak points if Wallace, Norman, Justin Hodges and Josh Hoffman are given enough opportunities to rediscover their attacking mojo.
Failure to dominate upfront however and the Broncos will kiss their season goodbye tonight.
The Cowboys are the NRL’s most lethal attacking unit, with key duo Johnathon Thurston and Matt Bowen the key sparks to an attack that can burn any opposition defence.
The chemistry shared between Thurston and Bowen remains unrivalled in the NRL, particularly when both combine to ignite the second phase play that allows the likes of Brent Tate, Kane Linnett and Ashley Graham to come into play.
Quite simply, the Broncos must respect possession and maintain discipline if they are to deny Thurston and Bowen the opportunity to take control of this contest.
Although Brisbane certainly possess the character to make a game of this, their season will most likely come to an end against a Cowboys unit that simply possesses too much firepower for the Broncos to handle.
Cowboys by 10.
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