The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys are one win away from a National Youth Competition grand final after an impressive 36-24 win over the Broncos in today’s qualifying final at Suncorp Stadium.
Led by four tries to try-scoring machine Gideon Mosby, the Cowboys built on a 20-6 haltime lead to earn a week 2 finals bye and a preliminary final in a fortnight.
After the disappointment of narrowly missing the minor premiership with last weekend’s loss to Gold Coast, the Cowboys ensured they give themselves the best possible chance to push for the larger prize with an impressive display against an injury-hit Broncos team.
After an initial settling-in period where teams traded penalties and possession, it was the visitors who drew first blood with damaging prop Viliame Kikau muscling his way over in the 13th minute. It was Kikau’s 21st try of the season, the Fijian product moving to fourth on the NYC’s top try-scorers’ list for the season.
Four minutes later, classy five-eighth Kyle Laybutt scythed over as the Cowboys looked in an ominous attacking mood against a team devastated by injuries in the run-in to the finals.
The tries continued to flow as backrower and 2015 NRL debutante Coen Hess dived over off the back of some broken-field play as the Cowboys took advantage of a glut of possession on the back of Broncos errors. Laybutt’s conversion from dead in front hit the upright to keep the score at 16-0.
The Cowboys again broke the shackles two minutes later as all-time single-season tryscoring record-holder Mosby crossed for his 35th try of the season. Laybutt again found the woodwork – but this time from out wide – with his conversion attempt and the Cowboys were seemingly cruising at 20-0 ahead after 30 minutes.
A Broncos try, though, against the run of play to Lindsay Collins gave the home fans something to cheer about as the Cowboys went into halftime with a handy 20-6 lead.
It only took eight minutes into the second half for the Cowboys to reassert their dominance as quick hands led to Mosby’s second try for the game.
But the plucky Broncos again hit back as Collins grabbed his second.
That resurgence lasted three minutes as Mosby scorched over for his hat-trick and the Cowboys were in full control once more.
A third and fourth Broncos try sent the Cowboys into a slight panic, but Mosby’s fourth in the 76th minute ensured the young Cowboys advanced to week three.
The win was soured by an injury to Brandon Smith, the hooker taken off the field by medicab after appearing to have been heavily concussed.
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS 36 (Gideon Mosby 4, Viliame Kikau, Kyle Laybutt, Coen Hess tries; Laybutt 4 goals) def BRISBANE BRONCOS 24 (Lindsay Collins 2 tries, Jayden Berrell, Paul Byrnes; Paul Byrnes 4 goals).