The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys under-20s have survived a late Broncos fightback to scrape home 23-22 in their National Youth Competition match at Suncorp Stadium today.
Leading 18-12 at half time and 22-12 with 17 minutes remaining, ill discipline, handling errors and two quick Broncos tries saw the hosts level the match at 22-all with plenty of time remaining.
But a 76th-minute field goal to cool-headed halfback Cooper Bambling ensured North Queensland booked a third-straight win to consolidate their spot near the top of the NYC ladder.
The win came at a cost though as flying winger Gideon Gela-Mosby injured his groin midway through the first half, the all-time single-season NYC try-scoring record-holder taking no further part in the game and expected to be out of action for several weeks.
Controlling proceedings for most of the match, Aaron Payne’s young charges were impressive early as a Jordan Kenworthy double and a Bambling four-pointer countered Brisbane’s two tries for a handy half-time lead.
With exciting centre Tuala posting the first points of the second half, the visitors were looking comfortable as the last quarter of the match approached.
But fullback Corey Allan’s second try and one to elusive five-eighth Haydyn O’Hara saw the baby Broncos roar back into contention with plenty of time remaining.
Despite some sloppy handling in the preceding sets, the Cowboys managed to find some handy field position and the left-footed Bambling had an eternity to snap the game-winning field goal.
NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS 23 (Jordan Kenworthy 2, Cooper Bambling, Enari Tuala tries; Cody Grills 3 goals; Bambling field goals) def BRISBANE BRONCOS 22 (Corey Allan 2, Will Brimson, Haydyn O’Hara tries; O’Hara 3 goals) at Suncorp Stadium.