A stunning Broncos debut by Reece Walsh has led Kevin Walters' men to a 28-16 win over the Cowboys in Friday night's Queensland derby at Suncorp Stadium.
With Walsh at his mesmerising best and five-eighth Ezra Mam also enjoying a magical night, the Broncos made it two straight wins to start the season.
The Cowboys flew out of the blocks with Jason Taumalolo making big metres and star back-rower Jeremiah Nanai capitalising on the early possession with some trademark footwork to cross in the fifth minute.
Some desperate defence by Chad Townsend denied Mam a chance to hit back in the 12th minute before the Cowboys extended their lead to 8-0 midway through the half courtesy of a Val Holmes penalty goal.
The Broncos had several chances to open their account with 16 tackles inside the Cowboys' red zone in the first 25 minutes but Todd Payten's men held firm.
Nanai opens the scoring
Herbie Farnworth looked to have jagged a try for Brisbane when he dived into the corner in the 30th minute but the try was disallowed for obstruction in the lead-up.
In the 34th minute the Broncos finally took their opportunity inside the 20-metre zone when skipper Adam Reynolds grubbered for Kurt Capewell to score.
A penalty against Martin Taupau for a hip drop tackle handed Holmes the chance to add two more points and the Cowboys took a 10-6 lead before the Broncos had the final say with a superb try to Mam.
The Broncos are cooking now
With 30 seconds remaining in the half, Walsh found space and sent the ball to winger Corey Oates who put a perfectly weighted grubber back inside for Mam to gather and score. Reynolds missed the conversion and the score was locked 10-10 at the break.
The Cowboys lost fullback Scott Drinkwater to the sin bin in the 44th minute when he made high contact on Oates as the Broncos winger tried to score in the corner and the home side cashed in immediately when Kotoni Staggs scored from a Walsh kick.
The Broncos went further ahead in the 50th minute when Walsh sparked another raid and Mam finished it off to make it 20-10 to Brisbane.
Drinkwater returned to the field in the 54th minute to make it 13 on 13 but the Cowboys looked to be out of gas and a penalty goal to Reynolds with 10 minutes to play made it 22-10.
Nanai made it a double in the 73rd minute when Townsend put a perfectly weighted grubber into the in goal and the Cowboys were back in the contest.
The Cowboys threw everything at Brisbane in a bid to level up but Walsh had the final word when he backed up a Farnworth break to score the Broncos' fifth try.
Match: Broncos v Cowboys
Round 2 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- Cowboys back-rower Jeremiah Nanai has now scored 20 tries in 29 career games.
- Jason Taumalo set the tone for the Cowboys with 96 metres and five tackle breaks in a 27-minute opening stint.
- Cowboys centre Peta Hiku was placed on report for a crusher tackle in the 28th minute.
- Broncos forward Martin Taupau was placed on report in the 37th minute for a hip drop tackle.
- Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt went on report for high contact on Reece Walsh in the 50th minute.
Reynolds has it on a string
- Broncos five-eighth Ezra Mam has now scored seven tries in eight games at Suncorp Stadium.
- Cowboys fullback Scott Drinkwater was put on report and sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes for high contact on Corey Oates.
- The Broncos lost winger Corey Oates to a suspected broken jaw in the 44th minute.
- Fullback Reece Walsh made a stunning debut in Broncos colours with a try, 183 running metres, three line break assists and two try assists.
- Thomas Flegler and Martin Taupau gave Brisbane huge impact off the bench with 259 running metres between them.
- Centre Herbie Farnworth made 235 running metres and had five tackle breaks for Brisbane.
Play of the Game
In his first game for the Broncos excitement machine Reece Walsh had 71 running metres in the opening half and was a constant threat to the Cowboys. On the stroke of half-time he chimed into the line and put winger Kyle Feldt in two minds before delivering a well-timed pass to veteran flyer Corey Oates who powered down the left flank. With Scott Drinkwater coming across in cover, Oates put in a deft kick with his right foot which sat up perfectly for Ezra Mam to finish off a cracking Broncos try.
What They Said
"Reece has some good skills in his little kitbag when he decides to bring it out but it's only Round 1 for him and the early part of his career. We brought him back here to do some of the things he did tonight and it was a very proud moment for him to get his first opportunity in the jersey. And we're all very proud of him for the performance he put up. He has good speed, good awareness and he loves the game." - Broncos coach Kevin Walters
Broncos: Round 2
"The try before half-time really hurt and then the way we started the second half, we gave away a couple of penalties to let them out of their own end and they just had too much field position and possession. Really hard to defend with 12 men with the sin binning but you have to try and limit the damage in that period and they scored two tries and in the end that was the difference. They had all the running in the end." - Cowboys coach Todd Payten
Cowboys: Round 2
The Broncos will look to make it three straight when they host the Dragons in Round 3 while the Cowboys look to regroup against the Warriors in Townsville.