A ‘dominant’ North Queensland Cowboys have beaten Queensland rivals Brisbane in an exciting battle in Townsville to make another statement.
Todd Payten’s side came away with a 40-26 win after holding just a two-point lead at half-time.
Broncos playmaker Adam Reynolds returned from his latest injury setback but self-rated his performance as “shameful”.
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Kevin Walters’ Broncos kicked off the score after a messy play saw the ball jump out for hooker Billy Walters to ground him.
But Maroons winger Murray Taulagi hit back quickly, bringing in a pass from Adam Reynolds to score a stunning interception.
“Intercept, Taulagi accepts the gift and we are all stuck in the Queensland derby,” said Brenton Speed.
“Stunning defensive positioning from Taulagi, both teams are starting to expand their game from their own side,” said Corey Parker.
After halftime, the Cowboys came firing with dummy half Reece Robson who took control to record a try-and-try assist before young gun Jeremiah Nanai stole the show.
“Dominating in this second 40 the home side, on track to do the double over big brother in 2022,” said Speed.
“Jeremiah Nanai, what a try scorer he is, he scores tries for fun,” Parker said.
But the Broncos weren’t done there with Reynolds inspiring a Red Hill comeback.
Winger Corey Oates flew on a pointed short ball from his halfback before Selwyn Cobbo took over.
Shifting to fullback to cover an injury to Te Maire Martin, the young pistol broke through the Cowboys line and sprinted 60 yards.
He then took the ball and fell over – but it wasn’t enough, as the Broncos gave up possession twice with two errors in the last three minutes.
Payten’s side wasn’t done either, scoring from the back of the scrum to rub their dominance in the faces of their Queensland rivals.
Fox League’s Cooper Cronk labeled the clash a “hard-fought affair” and praised their resilience to defeat another finals contender.
Read the key points from Saturday night’s Queensland derby below!!
REYNOLDS’ ‘Embarrassing’ ADMISSION
After a bad night by his high standards, Broncos star Adam Reynolds labeled his own performance as “shameful.”
In only his second game since round 10, as he struggled with injuries – missing last week due to a rib problem – the 31-year-old halfback’s kick-off game was noticeably off, finding the dead-ball line from a kick-off before girding the ball several times. moments later in contact with a lunge on the goal line.
Reynolds was scathing about his own performance at the post-match press conference.
“I was just wrong, I wasn’t good enough, shameful by my standards,” said Reynolds.
“Go back to training, work hard at it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
A reporter then asked if the Cowboys defense, which was clearly targeting Reynolds, played a part in his off-night.
North Queensland players flooded the veteran playmaker every time he had the ball in his hands.
“No,” Reynolds replied.
RED-HOT FORM OF DRINKING WATER CONTINUES
Cowboys winger Scott Drinkwater has delivered again for the North Queensland side.
The 25-year-old fullback is in sparkling form after making roster in Todd Payten’s 17 and Fox League’s Corey Parker was stunned that the former Storm player was in the pecking order to start the year.
Drinkwater was behind flyer Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow as Payten’s second full-back, but has grabbed his chance with both hands since then.
“Drinking water, nice little pass, what a season he has, to think that in the first few laps he wasn’t part of this side and where they come from,” said Corey Parker.
“Scott Drinkwater now has as many try-assists as Chad Townsend, and remember, Drinkwater didn’t get its chance until Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow crashed.”
Drinkwater finished 81 running meters, three tackle breaks, three line break assists and a whopping three try assists in the big Queensland derby victory.
STAGGS’ CANNOT BURN
Broncos center Kotoni Staggs made no impact in Queensland’s crucial derby.
Staggs will fall from Brad Fittler’s Blues side after a unique appearance in Game I, but appeared for Tonga in a representative round over the weekend.
In that game, the 23-year-old was solid, but did not qualify against the Cowboys.
Fox League’s Corey Parker called on Staggs to look for the ball as the Broncos made a late comeback.
“They need possession, we talked about what kind of stars are going to rise, I go back to Kotoni Staggs, almost an hour of football and he touched the ball twice,” Parker said.
“Can Staggs find a ball on the right,” Speed said.
“He has to look for it, he’s so hard to put down, he can create so much momentum,” Parker said.
Staggs finished the night with just 22 running yards from four carries and 12 tackles.
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THE RELAXING STATISTICS OF NANAIA
Jeremiah Nanai continues to count four-pointers in 2022.
The Cowboys backrower scores tries “for fun” according to Fox League’s Brenton Speed and the stats prove… he certainly does.
The 19-year-old now sits fifth on the tryout leaderboard, surrounded by prolific outside-backs such as Alex Johnston, Taylan May and Ryan Papenhuyzen.
“Jeremiah Nanai, why wouldn’t you, what a try-scorer he is, he scores tries for fun,” said Brenton Speed.
“Lots of kick attempts and a lot of individual brilliance here,” Parker said.
Speed also revealed that Nanai is just one try away from tying a club record, and the farmer-rushing backrower is ready to blow it out of the park.
“12 for Nanai, alongside Coen Hess, Gavin Cooper and Glen Morrison who are on 13, and plenty of time to add to it,” said Speed.
“Unbelievable to think of an edge backrower, when you see Taylan May and Papenhuyzen and Johnston just a few down the road,” Parker said.
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