Brisbane Broncos hung on to defeat North Queensland Cowboys 24-20 and earn their first win of the season after the post came to the Broncos’ rescue.
With Scott Bolton charging towards the line to win the game with only a minute left, the prop forward slammed into the upright which forced the ball loose and killed off any chance of the Cowboys winning the game.
It was North Queensland who got on the board first when a Johnathan Thurston kick ricocheted off Matt Lodge to Jordan McLean who reached out to score.
And after a Thurston penalty gave the Cowboys an eight-point cushion, the Broncos came roaring back when Tevita Pangai Jr smashed his way through despite the setback of Jordan Kahu leaving the field with a broken jaw.
Tom Opacic saw luck go his way for Brisbane’s second when Andrew McCullough’s deep bomb bounced into his hands, much to the dismay of Cowboys full-back Ben Hampton.
Alex Glenn gave Brisbane a ten-point lead at the break when he supported a Corey Oates break on the left. Oates himself almost opened the scoring in the second half but the big winger was ruled to have dropped the ball after acrobatically diving in at the corner.
Thurston and Gavin Cooper combined to great effect to bring the Cowboys back into the game with Cooper running on to a classic flat pass before Jake Granville was denied by the bunker after he picked up his own kick but promoted the ball when already tackled.
Brisbane were back in control after James Roberts wandered back infield and cut through the defence on the angle and found Kodi Nikorima. But Thurston had other ideas when he offloaded to Granville who did get his try this time.
North Queensland laid siege to the Broncos’ line in the remaining minutes but their defensive line and the posts kept out the Cowboys and sealed Brisbane’s two points.
Broncos: Boyd, Oates, Roberts, Kahu, Isaako, Milford, Nikorima, Lodge, McCullough, Pangai Jr, Glenn, Gillett, McGuire; Interchanges: Thaiday, Ofahengaue, Sims, Opacic
Tries: Pangai Jr, Opacic, Glenn, Nikorima; Goals: Isaako 4
Cowboys: Hampton, Feldt, O’Neill. Bowen, Winterstein, Martin, Thurston, Scott, Granville, McLean, Cooper, Lowe, Taumalolo; Interchanges: Asiata, Hess, Bolton, Jensen
Tries: McLean, Cooper, Granville; Goals: Thurston 4
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express