If the Brisbane Broncos are to claim victory over the North Queensland Cowboys tonight and progress into the third week of the finals, they’ll need to reverse one of the most consistent results trends across the NRL’s many rivalries.
While the two Queensland outfits (traditionally known as “brother” clubs, but these days more like bitter rivals) have produced some of the most epic games and rugby league finishes in recent memory, the location of each blockbuster of late has proven an almighty influence on the result.
Leaving out their thrilling NRL grand final almost a year ago, which of course was contested on neutral territory at Sydney’s ANZ stadium, a quick glance at the full-time scoreboard from the sides’ other last eight encounters shows a dramatic advantage to the home side.
In the last eight matches played between Johnathan Thurston’s North Queensland Cowboys and the retiring Corey Parker’s Brisbane Broncos in Queensland, the home side has won on every occasion.
The last time an away side claimed the points in a Cowboys/Broncos match-up was back in July 2013 when the Broncos won 18-16 in Townsville.
Including their 2015 title decider, the last three matches played between the sides have all been decided by one point – a golden point on two of those occasions. However, the scores between the clubs has also “blown-out” … The Cowboys “flogged” the Broncos 27-14 in Tonwsville back in May 2014, while the Broncos’ biggest win during this period has been a 44-22 demolition at Suncorp Stadium in May 2015.
While the two clubs revelled in the cosiness and smugness that was last year’s first and historic all-Queensland NRL grand final, the truth is the clubs these days are fierce rivals, both at fan and player levels. That one of these giants will be eliminated tonight will only add to the sheep-station importance the state of Queensland now places on this battle.
HOME TEAMS’ DOMINANCE IN THE LAST EIGHT COWBOYS VS BRONCOS MATCHES PLAYED IN QUEENSLAND
20.05.16 Cowboys (H) beat Broncos (A) 19-18
25.03.16 Broncos (H) beat Cowboys (A) 21-20 (ET)
12.09.15 Broncos (H) beat Cowboys (A) 16-12
15.05.15 Cowboys (H) beat Broncos (A) 31-20
20.03.15 Broncos (H) beat Cowboys (A) 44-22
13.09.14 Cowboys (H) beat Broncos (A) 32-20
09.05.14 Cowboys (H) beat Broncos (A) 27-14
14.03.14 Broncos (H) beat Cowboys (A) 16-12