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Superstar fullback Reece Walsh launched his 2024 season in style as the Broncos downed the Cowboys 46-20 in Mackay on Sunday afternoon.

After a quiet opening half Walsh exploded in the second term with a try and two try assists as the 2023 grand finalists flexed their muscle ahead of their trip to Las Vegas.

The Broncos needed just two minutes to open the scoring when veteran flyer Corey Oates finished off a left side raid that featured Reece Walsh and Selwyn Cobbo.

A strong tackle by Sam McIntyre on Cobbo in the 14th minute forced an error and gave the Cowboys- good field position but they came up empty.

Corey Oates Try

Come the 17th minute and some clever ball-playing from Adam Reynolds created space for edge back-rower Brendan Piakura to stroll over and the Broncos led 10-0.

The Cowboys hit back in the 21st minute when Semi Valemei picked off a Walsh pass on halfway and sprinted away to score.

With 14 minutes to play in the opening stanza Piakura made it a double when he charged onto a short ball from Jock Madden and ran 30 metres to score and with Reynolds' conversion the Broncos led 16-4.

Brendan Piakura Try

It took the Cowboys just four minutes to strike back through Kulikefu Finefeuiaki, who carried three defenders over the line with him in an impressive show of strength.

A dropped ball by Oates late in the half opened the door for the Cowboys to grab their third try when hooker Sean Mullany threw a dummy and burrowed over from close range.

Sean Mullany Try

Ahead 16-14 at the break the Broncos needed just 60 seconds to extend their lead when Cobbo soared above the pack to bring down a bomb and run away to score. Walsh converted to make it 22-14.

Cobbo was in the thick of the action again just two minutes later when he exploded into space off a Walsh pass before turning the ball back inside to his fullback who strolled over for Brisbane's fifth try and a bonus point.

A superb 40-20 by Walsh eight minutes after the break handed the Broncos field position and Madden strolled over but the try was ruled out due to obstruction in the lead-up by Martin Taupau.

Tristan Sailor was next to strike in the 51st minute when Walsh again stamped his class on the play and the scoreline blew out to 34-14.

Sailor continued his impressive second half with a 40-20 in the 68th minute and the Broncos had a seventh try soon after when youngster Benjamin Te Kura surged over from close range.

With three minutes to play the Broncos scored again through Cory Paix before 19-year-old Cowboy Jaxon Purdue brought the crowd to its feet with a runaway try to make the final score 46-20.

Match Snapshot

  • Cowboys fullback Tom Chester played his first game since suffering an ACL injury in Round 9 last year.
  • Broncos prop Payne Haas went on report in the 23rd minute for a high tackle.
  • Cowboys winger Semi Valemei ran for 198 metres and had six tackle breaks.
  • Tristan Sailor came up with a 40-20 for the Broncos in the 68th minute.
  • The Broncos grabbed two bonus points for scoring more than five tries and making more than five line breaks.

This Reece Walsh 40/20 was clean

  • Payne Haas made an impressive start to his 2024 campaign with 11 runs for 125 metres in the first half while Brendan Piakura ran for 101 metres in the opening term.
  • Broncos fullback Reece Walsh produced a 40-20 kick in the 48th minute.
  • Mackay Cutters captain Sean Mullany got through a power of work in defence for the Cowboys with 41 tackles.
  • Cowboys reserves Jaxon Purdue and Jensen Taumoepeau made the most of their opportunities as they combined for 21 runs and 316 metres.
  • The Broncos had 53 tackle breaks to the Cowboys' 35.

Semi Valemei Try

Play of the Game 

Brendan Piakura's second try was an absolute beauty and gave an indication of what is to come in 2024 when he moves into the starting side on the left edge. The 21-year-old showed great footwork to create space and plenty of speed to race away for the four-pointer that took Brisbane out to a 12-point lead. After coming off the bench in eight of his 13 games in 2023, Piakura is poised to become a regular starter and have a big impact this season.

Brendan Piakura Try

What They Said

"I trained all pre-season in the centres and it felt good, I’m excited for the future. Working with your half in defence is the biggest difference from playing on the wing but I’ll get used to it. I was a lot more comfortable in the second half."
- Broncos centre Selwyn Cobbo

What's Next

The Cowboys travel to Seiffert Oval in Queanbeyan to face the Raiders while the Broncos' big guns fly to Vegas this week and the remainder of their squad head to Sydney to play Manly at 4 Pines Park in Round 2 of the Pre-Season Challenge.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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