North Queensland coach Todd Payten insisted Scott Drinkwater and Valentine Holmes compete for the No. 1 jersey despite a two-half trial win against Brisbane that set this new Cowboys outfit on the path to a much improved 2021 season

The Cowboys scored an impressive 34:18 win over Brisbane at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Stadium on Saturday night when Holmes scored five goals in the demolition in the second half when he switched to full-back

The Cowboys were 18-6 behind after a sluggish first half, but stacked up to three attempts to take control of the game in just nine minutes at the start of the second verse in the second verse as Kevin Walters ‘The Broncos’ new regime caused the same concentration problems as their 2020 wooden spoon campaign

While both clubs are fighting their way from the bottom four places in 2020, it was the Cowboys who, after their dominant performance in the second half in the six-to-three win, withdrew with more reason to smile

Prop striker Francis Molo looked a constant threat with his late dumps, halfback Jake Clifford controlled the game with his kicks and big names like Jason Taumalolo, Michael Morgan, Valentine Holmes, full-back Josh Drinkwater and Coen Hess also showed glimpses their best

Do you already have an NRL account?

log in

Not sure?

Learn more about an NRL account

“This second half has been encouraging signs of a little bit of faith, a little bit of resilience and I felt like we were holding on to what’s positive,” said Payten

“We still have a bit of that big game mentality, the tougher teams played the finals last year and cut them out”

The router in the second half was triggered by a game we’ve seen many times before, winger Kyle Feldt faced three defenders unable to move and pushed a bronco aside to then start his acrobatic dive to get around to put it directly in the chalk with one hand

What followed next was like a 2020 Broncos Lowlights movie as the Cowboys scored two quick tries against Holmes and Mitch Dunn with cheeky cultivator kicks behind the line to take the lead just before the hour 10:18 go

Centers Esarn Masters and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow completed the attack in the second half with five attempts to get the Cowboys off before their NRL season opener against big finalist Penrith on Jan. March to give a huge confidence boost

Payten said he was making the decision whether to use Drinkwater or Holmes to be the No. would wear, not yet come closer to 1 jersey, although Holmes was in the back during the routing, while the dots in the middle and on the bench are still in the air

“Both know the selection criteria and that is our management organization,” said Payten about the fullback fight

“I have to watch the video again. We had four centers there with some good moments, that’s a bit of a headache”

It’s back to the drawing board for Brisbane after the disappointing second half followed after a promising opening of 40 minutes

Fullback Jamayne Isaako looked like a superstar, throwing great passes and breaking the line of defense as the Broncos moved like a team that had sung on the same song sheet for the first time in a long time

Halfback Tom Dearden was in complete control of the attack, slut Jake Turpin had the pack rolled forward, and the Broncos had a defensive strength that was lacking last year

Isaako was involved in both attempts at opening the Broncos and implemented Tesi Nui after four minutes before his line break In the 14th Minute, David Mead prepared David Mead for the corner

The Broncos ended halftime at a high point when Turpin burst over after a clever game from Brodie Croft fifth and eighth

Broncos recruits John Asiata and Thomas Flegler have to wait anxiously after they were both in the 26 Minute were reported for a hoist against Cowboys Lock Reuben Cotter

Walters will now have to face his first real test of his coaching career to win the Broncos for their NRL duel with Parramatta on Dec. March to get started

Brisbane Broncos

World News – AU – Holmes is hot but Drinkwater is still out hunting for the full-back