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Cowboys vs Broncos
NRL, 9 August, 2018
|Fulltime - Cowboys 34, Broncos 30|
|Referee: Grant Atkins|
|Touch judges: Michael Wise & Phil Henderson|
|Video Referee: Ashley Klein|
The Brisbane Broncos head to the Townsville, with the North Queensland Cowboys looking to upset their archrivals. Join The Roar from 7:50pm (AEST) for live scores and coverage of the match.
Johnathan Thurston’s form has improved considerably over the last fortnight, as North Queensland came from behind to defeat Newcastle and were within six points of the third-placed Sydney Roosters.
The spotlight will be on Thurston to deliver the Cowboys another miracle in his last-ever Queensland derby, although the key is matching the Broncos through the middle and creating enterprising play to fatigue their big park.
If Jake Granville can work effectively from the ruck, the Cowboys can turn the Broncos inside out and create a massive upset.
Despite having secured a spot inside the top eight, Brisbane are in a precarious position following a loss to the Bulldogs last week.
Wayne Bennett’s men have been inconsistent in recent weeks, conceding a heavy loss to the Warriors before posting 50 points on the Panthers and grinding out a win against the Sharks.
Bennett has shaken up his backline, with Darius Boyd returning to fullback, moving Jamayne Isaako to the wing and prompting Gehamat Shibasaki to debut at centre in place of Jordan Kahu. Tevita Pangai Jr has been dropped to the reserves while Josh McGuire is suspended.
The Broncos and Cowboys’ last meeting saw Brisbane win 24-20 in Round 2 this year. These teams have taken part in some classic battles in recent years, six of the last eight meetings being decided by four points or less, including the 2015 NRL grand final, when Thurston slotted the premiership-winning field goal in extra time.
The Broncos have won just once in their last five visits to Townsville, their solitary win coming last year.
Johnathan Thurston will help his side to an upset win, with a field goal.
Cowboys by 1.
Join The Roar from 7:50pm (AEST) for score updates and debate in our live blog.