North Queensland have spoilt Brisbane's afternoon party at Suncorp Stadium, thumping the Broncos 38-12 in a one-sided local derby on Sunday.
A hat-trick to Cowboys forward Jeremiah Nanai and five-star performances from Valentine Holmes and former Bronco Tom Dearden led the visitors, who set up a 14-6 lead in the first half before going on with the game in the second.
It was a sweet homecoming in his second game against the Broncos for Dearden, who scored a try and set up three to outplay Broncos halfback Adam Reynolds.
Reynolds' first match at home was a mixed bag with the former Rabbitohs kicking the ball out twice on the full in the minutes leading up to Holmes' try in the 45th minute.
Holmes with a super finish
Holmes was at his dominant best at left centre, scoring a try and running for over 180 metres in the win against opposite number Kotoni Staggs, who was notably quiet with his carries for a third consecutive week.
Earlier, Brisbane were awarded a penalty try in the 24th minute - the first of the 2022 season - after Kyle Feldt was ruled to have taken out Herbie Farnworth in a try-scoring opportunity in-goal.
The joy was short-lived for the Broncos, however, who suffered their first defeat of 2022 in uninspiring fashion.
Farnworth awarded a penalty try
- The Broncos had just 38% of the ball, completing at 68%. North Queensland completed at 92% for the match.
- The 38-12 scoreline was the equal-biggest win for the Cowboys over the Broncos.
- Jeremiah Nanai joined the likes of Johnathan Thurston, Matt Sing, Michael Morgan and Kyle Feldt as the only Cowboys players to ever have scored a hat-trick against the Broncos.
- Cowboys forward Coen Hess left the field in the first half with a shoulder injury and did not return.
- Broncos forward Jordan Riki left the field in the first half with a rib injury and did not return.
- Broncos pair Jake Turpin and Kobe Hetherington were both placed on report for separate incidents to come out of the match.
Play of the game
Back-rower Jeremiah Nanai showed he is more than capable of getting over the line in the air, coming up with two tries from kicks in the second half to grab the first treble of his NRL career.
Nanai makes it a hat-trick
What they said
"It was a little bit scrappy, I had a couple of poor errors there kicking out on the full. It's just disappointing. We've one two games but were pretty scrappy in those two games if we're being honest. It brings us back down to earth." - Broncos captain Adam Reynolds.
"It was our most complete performance, we've been trying to build our game in the off-season about playing the game the right way. I felt we did that well tonight. We played tough and defended our way out of trouble and that was the game. I think it should grow some confidence and belief for the boys." - Cowboys coach Todd Payten.
Brisbane will head to Redcliffe's Moreton Daily Stadium for a clash against the Warriors next Saturday afternoon.
The Cowboys will return home for their third home game in a month to host the Roosters at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.