North Queensland Cowboys 17
Brisbane Broncos 16
You would be hard pressed to find a more incredible or action packed NRL grand final, as the North Queensland Cowboys took out their first premiership at ANZ Stadium, beating the Brisbane Broncos by a point in golden point.
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In front of 82, 758 fans the game went back and forth and looked dead and buried with a just a few minutes to play. Both teams were out on their feet and neither looked like scoring more points.
However, the Cowboys would do enough to score, force it to golden point and then nail the field goal that would win them the 2015 NRL premiership.
After a fantastic game though, Ben Hunt would have some of the worst minutes of his career, getting placed on report for a spear tackle and then, dropping the ball from the kick off.
Apart from those five minutes however, Hunt played an incredibly controlling role in the game and was one of the Broncos best, keeping them cool and composed under pressure and certainly guiding them to a lead that for a long time was looking like it might have been enough.
The other standout from the Broncos was Anthony Milford. He looked odds on favourite for the Clive Churchill medal for much of the game, providing spark in attack and making some pivotal plays in defence, including two one on one strips.
Andrew McCullogh, Corey Parker, Adam Blair and particularly Jack Reed also had stand out games. To list so many players from a losing side shows just how high paced, and how high quality the game was.
For the Cowboys, Johnathan Thurston managed to take out the Clive Churchill medal as the best player on the ground, however that could be disputed. Jake Granville, Lachlan Coote and Michael Morgan also had sparkling games while Jason Taumalolo, James Tamou and Matt Scott led the forwards with vigour on both ends of the park.
The scoring started early on in the piece, the Broncos coming out of the blocks firing. Corey Parker slotted a penalty goal to open the scoring in the 7th minute.
Off the kick off, with the Broncos under all sorts of pressure and only just getting back into the field of play, Adam Blair took a charge before offloading and getting rid of the ball to Anthony Milford. He would find space and pass to Jack Reed who then put Corey Oates into space and he would run almost the length of the field to score.
Just a couple of minutes later though, the Broncos would make a mistake coming out of trouble with Matt Gillett dropping the ball. From the scrum, Jake Granville dummied, stepped and made his way through the line before passing to Justin O’Neill who crashed over.
The Cowboys then, dominated for a period of the game and scored the next try taking the lead for the first time. They got right onto the line of the Broncos and he darted out of dummy half, before passing flat to Tamou who scored next to the posts.
The Broncos would come back and score the next try, just six minutes out from half time to take the lead into the break through Jack Reed.
The half time score of 14-12, would prove to be close to the score for the next half hour, with the exception of a penalty goal.
End to end play ensued in the second half, however for a long time it seemed the teams were trying to save energy and the extreme pace we saw in the first half had certainly gone out of the game.
With around 20 minutes to go, the Broncos managed to strike a penalty goal and go four points ahead.
The Cowboys tried everything during the last 20 minutes. They attacked from every angle possible and tried every play they had ever learned however nothing was able to crack the Brisbane defence.
Eventually, with just 2 minutes on the clock and the Broncos doing nothing more than one up hit ups and kicking it over the sideline, slowing down play and conserving energy the Cowboys had one final crack following a Ben Hunt spear tackle and Broncos error.
30 metres out, on the last play of the game Thurston got the ball and almost looked to be tackled on three separate occasions before getting a pass away to Michael Morgan in the middle of the field. He would take off running for the right side and get an arm free in a three man tackle, passing to Kyle Feldt who was able to score in the corner after the siren.
Johnathan Thurston then had the opportunity to win the game for the Cowboys but couldn’t hitting the post with his kick.
The extra time that ensued was short, but full of action.
The Cowboys kicked off and Ben Hunt spilled the kick off. The Cowboys had a shot at the field goal off the scrum but were rushed, and were rushed again later in the set.
Eventually, with a play still up their sleeve they went out the back to Thurston again and he would hit the field goal from about 20 metres out to sink the Broncos and win the premiership for the Cowboys.
All in all, an incredible game of Rugby League and the party will go on in North Queensland for a long, long time!
The 2015 NRL grand final is here and for the first time ever it will be an all-Queensland affair, as the Brisbane Broncos take on the North Queensland Cowboys. Join The Roar for live coverage from 7pm (AEDT).
The last time the big dance didn’t feature a team from New South Wales was way back in 2006, when the Broncos won their last grand final against the Melbourne Storm.
Since then, the Broncos haven’t featured in a grand final, while the Cowboys last and only appearance was the year before, in 2005, when they lost to the Wests Tigers.
These teams met in the second qualifying final, in what was one of the matches of the season as the Broncos won by four points. Brisbane then had a week off before ripping the Sydney Roosters apart last weekend to book their place in the decider.