Cowboys Knock Broncos Out of Title Race
Saturday September 18, 2004
The Brisbane Broncos have been knocked out of the 2004 Telstra Premiership race by their fellow Queenslanders, the North Queensland Cowboys, in a high intensity match at Dairy Farmers Stadium. In a low scoring affair, the Cowboys ran out 10-nil victors in front of a euphoric home crowd, featuring atmosphere never seen before in North Queensland.
At the end of the day, the Broncos simply lacked the enthusiasm to match it with the Cowboys, whose on line defence was absolutely superb. Last tackle options were poor from both sides, but the Cowboys had the advantage in the go forward department, with Mitchell Sargent doing the damage with an outstanding performance off the bench. Sargent was supported by fellow forwards Luke O'Donnell, Shane Tronc and Paul Rauhihi, all taking advantage of a wounded Broncos forward pack.
Things weren't going right for the Broncos before they even stepped onto the field. Gorden Tallis led the team onto the field, then left them to do the job after heading back up the tunnel looking far from 100%. To Gordy's credit though, he came on and had a solid game. However, strong performances from him, Shaun Berrigan and Tonie Carroll weren't enough to get the Broncos over the line - literally. They didn't even score a point. That is the first time they have been held to 0 since 2001, where Newcastle belted them 44-0.
At half-time, the Cowboys definately went into the sheds looking the better team, but there was still light at the end of the tunnel for the Broncos. Carroll's defensive efforts in the first half were incredible, with 26 tackles to his credit, with a lot of them one on one. He was the only player the looked to be trying to match it with the Cowboys in the toughness department. In one word, he was - outstanding. The Broncos had so many opportunities it is a wonder how they managed not to score a point. The Cowboys only gave away one penalty close to their line, in which Lockyer made the decision to tap the ball and put the Cowboys under pressure early. That was the right decision, but it was clear from that set of 6 that the Cowboys meant business. The Broncos never looked like going over the line in a combination of poor attacking decisions and Cowboys defence. It was absolutely unbreakable.
The only try of the night was questionable.
Matt Bowen chipped over the top for David Myles, who appeared to be offside. Karmichael Hunt looked to have the kick covered, but attempted to kick the ball down field. He missed it cleanly, giving Myles an easy pick up and 10 metre run to the line. Tim Mander went to the video referee, and replays showed that Myles may have been offside. But it was one of those ones where it could have gone either way and whichever way it went, not many would be disappointed with the decision. To the Broncos' disappointment, a green TRY came up on the big screen, sending the Townsville fans into a frenzy.
From there, it was all about defence. The Broncos' defence was quite solid, but they could not back it up with quality attack. Handling errors came left and right, from both forwards and backs. There were some signs that a try would eventually come, with a chip over the top from Lockyer being regathered by Berrigan looking promising. But alas, Berrigan's pass back to Lockyer was a shocker, ball going back to the Cowboys.
It just simply wasn't the Broncos' night. This night was all about the Cowboys. The city of Townsville has been buzzing all week after they heard they would be getting a home semi final, and what a way to end that week for them.
Mitchell Sargent was the Cowboys' best, among many outstanding performers. Matt Bowen was again magnificent at the back with his 2 wingers Matt Sing and Ty Williams. These 3 could prove to be a premiership winning combination. Up front it was Luke O'Donnell who was the best of the run-on forwards. He was well supported by Paul Rauhihi, Shane Tronc and Glenn Morrison. However, there really wasn't a poor performer for the Cowboys. Aaron Payne was explosive out of dummy half, Nathan Fien again organised his troops very well and the two centres Josh Hannay and Paul Bowman were outstanding defensively.
For the Broncos, no player was a potential match-winner. But, as mentioned earlier, Tonie Carroll was absolutely outstanding with brutal defence and tireless (or that probably be tired) efforts to keep the Broncos in the match. Shaun Berrigan looked sharp in attack, and Ben Ikin proved handy in the hooking role.
It just didn't click for Darren Lockyer and his right-hand-man Brent Tate. Tate found himself with Hannay and Bowman in his face whenever his hands were on the ball. The centre and winger didn't make a bad decision all night, keeping Tate in his shell superbly.
It was a sad end for Gorden Tallis in his last game, but he won't be remembered for that game. We will always remember him as The Raging Bull, and tries such as those against St George in 1998, Parramatta in 2000, Penrith in 2002 and Melbourne and the Bulldogs this season will be what we see when we think of big Gordy. He will be deerly missed by all.
For now though, it is time for a rest before a big off season in preparation for 2005. The Broncos have lost a lot in the playing stocks this year, but the comeback of Brett Seymour, Barry Berrigan and Michael Ryan will be a boost if they can stay injury free.
For a comprehensive wrap of this match, go the the BroncoNet Match Panel by clicking the Game link on the right hand side of this page.