Broncos crash Cowboys’ party as big boys run riot
IT was supposed to be a Cowboys party. It became a Broncos stampede.
The Cowboys' celebration of their shiny new $293 million home turned to devastation as Broncos wonder boy David Fifita ran riot in a 28-21 derby ambush in the season opener at Queensland Country Bank Stadium last night.
On a day when the coronavirus crisis rocked the NRL, the Cowboys were left sick to the stomach as Brisbane's posse of young guns and remodelled playmaking spine turned the derby classic into a one-sided demolition job.
PAY THE MAN
Before 22,459 fans, the Cowboys suffered a horrendous dose of stagefright, with Brisbane doing the early forward graft before Fifita delivered the knockout punch with a try that only the gifted can deliver.
With Brisbane leading 18-9 inside 58 minutes, Fifita took the ball from a standing start 70 metres out, shrugged off two Cowboys, tore upfield, then audaciously stepped Valentine Holmes to plunge the dagger.
To steal a term from Fifita's generation ... OMG.
If Fifita was worth $1 million before last night's clash, the off-contract back-rower added $200,000 to his value and the Broncos should pay whatever he wants to keep the 107kg wrecking ball at Red Hill for life.
This was a magnificent display by the Broncos to launch their 2020 campaign. The ghosts of their horror 58-0 finals loss to the Eels last season were swept away by a Broncos side that looked hungrier, sharper and stronger than their 2015 grand-final nemesis.
"The Cowboys put on a party and we wanted to spoil the party," Broncos coach Anthony Seibold said.
"We wanted to represent the club well.
"Not too many people thought we would win and rightly so missing so many leaders. The guys were calm and composed. I had a good feeling they were up for this."
Of Fifita's try, he said: "That was fantastic, it was individual brilliance, as soon as you get Dave one-on-one he is hard to handle."
SPINE LOOKS SLICK
With new recruit Brodie Croft looking slick in his debut in the No.7 jumper, the Broncos dominated from start to finish, leading 12-9 half-time before Fifita spearheaded a second-half hatchet job.
The back-rower was ably supported by Jamayne Isaako, who was superb replacing Jack Bird at fullback, while Payne Haas charged for 176 metres in another commanding front-row display.
The Broncos came to Townsville to spoil the Cowboys' party and from the opening minutes they played with more energy and intent.
At times, the Broncos were almost too aggressive. That was evidenced in just the second minute, when Tevita Pangai Jr was placed on report for a silly swinging arm on Cowboys centre Justin O'Neill.
The key to Brisbane's success this season will be the chemistry of their new halves pairing, Anthony Milford and Croft. Last night, the pair combined nicely, giving Brisbane's scrumbase better balance.
The Cowboys scored two late tries to whittle the deficit to seven points, but Brisbane deserved to win by 20.