A try-scoring double to unheralded centre Bacho Salam headlined the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ dominant 38-18 win over the Brisbane Broncos in their Round 11 NYC match in Townsville tonight.
The seven-tries-to-three victory was the under-20s Cowboys’ fourth on the trot and cemented their place in the top three with eight wins from 11 matches.
Clear conditions at 1300SMILES Stadium set the stage, and allowed the likes of Ponga, Gela-Mosby and Cooper Bambling to run riot over a Broncos side that offered little in attack.
Sustained possession early in the game cracked the Broncos’ defence off the scrum, with Gideon Gela-Mosby streaking away down the sideline to open the scoring in the 5th minute, with the successful conversion from Ponga leaving the scores at 6-0.
Despite a penalty off the restart, the Cowboys let the pressure off the Broncos after an offensive penalty on the visitors’ line.
They fought back to the Broncos red zone and dummy runners and good passing allowed Cooper Bambling to stroll over under the posts.
The successful conversion left the scores at 12-0, 13 minutes into the first half.
The Broncos put some pressure on the Cowboys after 15 minutes, with a forced dropout coming off the back of a high tackle from the Cowboys.
A forward pass let the pressure off, and the Cowboys replied immediately, with Kalyn Ponga scoring after supporting winger Marcus Jensen as he streaked down the sideline.
Ponga missed the goal leaving the scores at 16-nil 20 minutes in.
Back-to-back penalties in the 25th and 27th minutes gave the Broncos field position and built pressure, resulting in a try to halfback Will Brimson in the 26th.
The successful conversion brought the score to 16-6 with 13 minutes left in the first half.
Both teams got into an arm-wrestle, until a Broncos knock-on and subsequent penalty gave the Cowboys prime field position.
They capitalised on the pressure with a sharp left-side ball movement, putting Bacho Salam over with 8 minutes left in the first half.
The unsuccessful kick left the scores at 20-6 with 7 minutes left in the first half.
Gideon Gela-Mosby was denied an intercept try, after he was ruled to have gone out after a superman style dive in the corner.
This didn’t seem to bother the home team, as another intercept from Gela-Mosby gave the Cowboys good field position.
A forced drop out mounted the pressure and the Broncos cracked, with Tahanui Tutavake crossing under the posts.
The successful conversion stretched the Cowboys lead to 26-6 at the break.
The Broncos opened scoring in the second half – after end-to-end football for 8 minutes, Triston Hope crossed the line from dummy-half, and the successful conversion brought the score to 26-12 in favour of the home team.
The Broncos kept the pressure up, until a knock-on in goal, and a subsequent penalty turned momentum back in favour of the Cowboys.
The Cowboys didn’t register second-half points until the 58th minute, after a break from Gideon Gela-Mosby, and Jordan Kenworthy scored off the next play.
The successful conversion brought the scores to 32-12 in the 60th minute.
The Cowboys didn’t rest there, with a try to Marcus Jensen coming in the next set, off a cut-out pass.
The successful conversion from Cooper Bambling made the scores 38-12 in the 62nd minute.
The Broncos scored the final try in the last minute of the game, and the successful conversion made the final score 38-18, in favour of the NYC Cowboys.
NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS 38 (Bacho Salam 2, Gideon Gela-Mosby, Cooper Bambling, Kalyn Ponga, Tahanui Tutavake, Marcus Jensen tries; Ponga 4, Bambling goals) def BRISBANE BRONCOS 18 (Will Brimson, Triston Hope, Gehamat Shibaski; Shibaski 3 goals) at 1300SMILES Stadium.