Tevita Pangai Jnr produced a strong first-half display to inspire Brisbane Broncos to a 29-10 victory over North Queensland, who were without Jason Taumalolo in the second half after the loose forward suffered a medial ligament injury.
The Broncos started the stronger side and were rewarded when Pangai Jnr’s offload led to Corey Oates crossing in the left corner.
On the other wing, Jamayne Isaako’s brilliant take from a Kodi Nikorima high kick set up James Roberts for Brisbane’s second.
The game descended into a scrappy affair after a lightning start and it took until the opening minutes of the second half for Brisbane to extend their lead though Oates’ second try of the evening. Then the star of the piece Pangai Jnr got his reward when he steamrolled his way to a try.
The Broncos, still with half an hour to play, threatened to mount up a big score when quick play on the right gave Roberts his double. But Jordan Kahu scored a try against his old club to give the Cowboys some hope.
Andrew McCullough’s try, after good work from Kotoni Staggs, did finally finish off North Queensland. Justin O’Neill’s try in the last ten minutes wasn’t enough to bring the Cowboys back into the game.
Broncos: Boyd, Oates, Roberts, Bird, Isaako, Milford, Nikorima, Pangai Jnr, McCullough, Ofahengaue, Glenn, Fifita, Gillett; Interchanges: Staggs, Su’A, Flegler, Johnson
Tries: Oates 2, Roberts 2, Pangai Jnr, McCullough; Goals: Isaako 2; Field goal: Milford (80)
Cowboys: Kahu, MacDonald, O’Neill, Opacic, Bowen, Martin, Morgan, Scott, Granville, McLean, Cooper, McGuire, Taumalolo; Interchanges: Hess, Asiata, Dunn, Molo
Tries: Kahu, O’Neill; Goals: Kahu
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express