The North Queensland Cowboys will face the Manly Sea Eagles next weeked after disposing of the Brisbane Broncos 33-16 and ending their 2012 season.
This game pretty much went the way that I expected it too. The Broncos poor form leading into the finals meant they were no match against an in form Cowboys side up in Townsville. The Cowboys front rowers in Matthew Scott and James Tamou were oustanding. They provided great go forward all night for the Cowboys and their work rate was high. The Broncos forwards were simply no match for them.
The Cowboys got out to a big lead in the first half and added to that early in the second half. While the Broncos made a slight comeback late in the game you never got the feeling the Cowboys were any chance of losing this one.
I said leading into the finals the the Broncos look to me like they have a few too many utility players and no enough specialists in their side. I think that bared out in this game. The Broncos have a lot of players that are good at a lot of things, but not reall outstanding. Over the course of the season that helps them compete pretty consistantly, but in the finals against top sides that was always going to be an issue for them. Unless they get a lot of posession and their kicking game is spot on, the Broncos are going to struggle to beat any of the top teams in the competition.
I really liked the look of the Cowboys. They showed they are dangerous right around the park and their ability to make something out of nothing means they can beat anyone if the bounce of the ball goes their way. They need that go forward from Tamou and Scott though, their hopes for Premiership glory rely on those two as much as they do on Jonathan Thurston.
So the Broncos are the first team in the finals to have their season ended. I really think they need to have a look at moving a few of their players on and look to get a few more specialist players in their lineup.
Petero Civoniceva’s return was a failure. He played one season too long. I also think Justin Hodges, for as good as he is when he is healthy, he just isn’t reliable enough to hold onto any more. No doubt by this time next season they will have blooded a few youngsters who will start killing it, but I think a few of their current squad who they probably hoped would have kicked on just haven’t taken that next step unfortunately for them.
For the Cowboys, they now head down to Sydney to face the Manly Sea Eagles who will be hurting after their loss to the Bulldogs on Friday night. The last time they played the Sea Eagles at the Sydney Football Stadium in the finals, they got belted in front of a very small crowd. I would probably expect the same thing to happen again, but Manly I think will could be very vunrable after that Bulldogs loss and the Cowboys really should be going into the match full of confidence.
One thing I want to mention is the commentary from Channel 9 during Broncos games.
Ray Hadley’s commentary for Channel 9 is about as popular as a fart in an elevator. On top of that, it seems as though Channel 9 has made a concious effort to have their “Queensland games” called exclusively for the Brisbane television audience. The call is biased toiwards the Bronco’s to the point where the commentators cheer their sucess and lament their failure.
These games are broadcast across Australia and overseas. Now, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find out that Channel 9 couldn’t care less about having fair commentary, but it’s bloody annoying to listen to a Bronco’s love-in every single week. It is not even as though they are subtle about it!
Anyway, a great win for the Cowboys and really, they are a dark horse to take out the competition.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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