“We were much better defensively. Any time you don’t concede any line breaks and miss less than 10 tackles, that’s a good day. But we were really frantic attacking the tryline of the Cowboys, we have to improve there,” Seibold said.
Brisbane were sprightly enough to begin the match and their pounding by Melbourne didn’t appear to have left too much of a ringing in the collective ears. Anthony Milford went over after just six minutes when he backed up Jamayne Isaako, who expertly executed the two-on-one for the first points.
But that was about as good as the execution would get in a poor first half that saw a host of errors from both sides, growing frustrations and little football that would suggest either side can be much of a factor late in the season.
Brisbane had the better looks at the opposing tryline but the finishing touch was missing. Turpin, Brisbane’s third-string halfback, was the most likely and at least was content to throw some caution to the wind, although it was likely to drop it cold given how the night was unfolding.
With little around him working, Turpin kicked for himself and claimed the try with admirable gusto. But the replay showed he lost the ball as he dived for the put-down and his dramatic effort was swiftly greeted with a red light.
North Queensland managed to turn that good fortune into something even better at the other end, with Shane Wright scoring his first NRL try after Gehamat Shibasaki coughed it up as he tried to run it out from his in-goal. Wright bobbled it but was said to have taken it cleanly enough to earn his side a 6-6 scoreline at the break.
Brisbane’s fortunes continued to dive at the start of the second half. With Milford at fullback and Darius Boyd struggling to impose himself at five-eighth, they were a rudderless ship, prompting Broncos great Corey Parker to exclaim from the Fox commentary booth: “That’s one of the worst sets of six you will see in 2019 from the Brisbane Broncos.”
Jake Clifford made Brisbane pay at the other end when he regathered his own kick to give the Cowboys a 12-6 lead. But a cold drop from Cowboys winger Gideon Gela-Mosby gave Brisbane a look and David Fifita, who had been a force to be reckoned with all evening, smashed his way over to level the scores with 14 minutes remaining.
Matt Scott earned his side a penalty right in front with nine to play and Clifford made no mistake. But two points wasn’t enough as Turpin spoiled the party at the death and to keep Brisbane’s slim finals hopes alive.
BRISBANE BRONCOS 18 (D Fifita, A Milford, J Turpin tries; J Isaako 3 goals) bt NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS 14 (J Clifford, S Wright tries; J Clifford 3 goals) at 1300SMILES Stadium. Referees: Gavin Badger, Matt Cecchin. Crowd: 17,530.