It was the show of Reece Walsh and Ezra Mam as the Brisbane Broncos boasted in Friday night’s local derby against the North Queensland Cowboys, 28-16 at Suncorp Stadium
In a wet and slippery game, the home side handled the conditions better than their little brother, showing more control and composure compared to the Cowboys’ mistakes and frustrations. In their first game together with Walsh on his debut for the club, Mam and Walsh lit the game and looked like they had always been teammates, and forged a left-back partnership that would excite Broncos fans.
“He (Walsh) did his job, good players do that,” said Broncos coach Kevin Walters.
“And we are all very proud of him for his achievement. He has good speed, good awareness and he loves the game.”
The Cowboys started the match much like last week – hard, fast and with early points on the board. Jason Taumalolo was “in the mood,” according to Fox commentator Micheal Ennis, with the wrecking ball paving the way for his side. At 8:0 after 18 minutes it only went in one direction.
But as the minutes ticked by, the Broncos found their groove. Two quick tries before half-time got the teams on their way to the sheds, locked at 10-all, with momentum that was well and right with the home side.
The Cowboys were down to 12 men after fullback Scott Drinkwater was trapped for a high shot at Broncos winger Corey Oates. Two more tries against Brisbane within the first ten minutes of the second half gave them a ten-point lead and eleven from the end a penalty shoot-out put the score 22-10 on the scoreboard.
Try-scoring machine Jeremiah Nanai put the Cowboys back within striking distance, but Walsh returned the serve with three minutes left and the Broncos made it 2/2 for the 2023 season. The win was unfortunately dampened by news that Oates had a suspected Kiefer suffered a fracture in his duel with Drinkwater.
“It wasn’t a very good incident to have the shoulder attack in our game,” Walters said.
“It will be interesting to see what happens.”
Broncos skipper Adam Reynolds thought the 10-minute guilt box wasn’t enough.
“It’s tough, everything is happening at high speed, if you look at the replay it doesn’t look good,” Reynolds said.
“For us we lose a player for the whole game and probably several weeks. I don’t know if ten minutes is reasonable.”
But Walters abandons his faith in the judiciary.
“We’re going to leave that in the hands of the NRL. They are capable and we trust them.”
Cowboys coach Todd Payten was quick to defend his full-back and the ten-minute penalty.
“It was certainly an accident … not on purpose … the kid was just doing his best to prevent an attempt,” Payten said.
“I am content with the binding of sin as long as it is consistent.”
I think Adam Reynolds found his perfect half partner.
Mam, 20, has stepped into the Broncos’ number six jersey with tremendous pressure on him. Not only worn by club legends like Wally Lewis and Darren Lockyer in the past, it now represents who works with the 11-year veteran and Brisbane general.
He was everywhere, involved in everything, grabbing two tries and appearing to have the ball on a string.
The future looks bright for Brisbane.
Walsh shines on homecoming
And then there was this guy.
Walsh was instrumental in the Broncos’ win, looking back in the number one jersey for Brisbane right at home. One try, two assists and about 1000 touches.
“He was on a different level tonight,” said Fox commentator Greg Alexander.
“He was electric,” added Corey Parker. “Some of the pieces, some of the moves, both the left foot and the right foot. What a debut for Walsh.”
So much talent and the possibilities are endless.
Why wasn’t Homles moved to full-back?
As Drinkwater marched for ten, eyebrows were raised when center Peta Hiku was, for some reason, traded to full-back in place of the Cowboys’ other center and former number one Valentine Holmes.
While Holmes has been outstanding since moving to centre, for many he was the safer and more obvious choice to move out to the back while Drinkwater was in the bin. The former Cowboys full-back stayed in place while Hiku fought his way out from behind, tapping and turning the ball more than once, no doubt counting every second of the ten minutes until Drinkwater returned.
Paix has his eye on the Bronocs’ number nine
Trainer Kevin Walters always had a headache when it came to picking his hooker. His son Billy got the nod for this match as well as last week but seemed slow and didn’t have much wiggle room.
The team took off when Corey Paix came on as a substitute with 15 minutes left in the first half. He was out of the dummy half quickly, and the Brisbane attack flowed much smoother and started firing.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the next rounds.
https://www.theroar.com.au/2023/03/10/analysis-walsh-shines-in-debut-as-broncos-outclass-cowboys-but-win-comes-at-a-cost-as-star-suffers-broken-jaw/ Walsh shines in the debut as the Broncos outclass the Cowboys, but the win comes at a price as the star suffers a broken jaw