13 Mar 2010

Broncos' teenage whiz kid stars in sides 30-24 win over Cowboys

6:31 am on 13 March 2010

The exciting teenage rookie Corey Norman became an instant hit with Broncos fans before comeback winger Denan Kemp snatched a desperate 30-24 win for Brisbane over North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane banked the two premiership points but not before Cowboys genius Johnathan Thurston threatened to inspire one of rugby league's great comebacks in front of almost 49,000 delirious fans kept on the edge of their seats for the last 20 minutes.

The night belonged to 18-year-old debutant Norman, but only after the Broncos resisted a stirring Cowboys fightback.

Thurston inspired an amazing Cowboys onslaught that hauled them back from 24-nil down until fullback Ty Williams scored their first points in the 53rd minute.

But just when the Cowboys seemed likely to pull off a miracle win, Brisbane skipper Darren Lockyer put Kemp away down the left touchline and he dived over the line for the match winner.

In arguably one of the best debuts in Brisbane's proud 21-year history, Norman stopped three tries and gave the final pass for the Broncos' opening two four pointers.

Playing in the Number one jumper vacated by another teenage prodigy Karmichael Hunt, the youngster however showed he was human in the 53rd minute when he fumbled a Thurston inside grubber which Williams toed across the line to score the Cowboys' first points.

The Cowboys launched a full throttle assault on Brisbane's line in the opening 20 minutes but Norman was magnificent.

After holding up a charging Bolton, who looked odds-on to score after steaming onto a short Thurston pass in the fifth minute, Norman cut down winger Michael Bani, who reached over his head but came up centimetres short in the 15th minute.

Norman was on the spot yet again to knock over Cowboys lock Luke O'Donnell with a try begging.

Having done the job defensively, Norman served up the final pass to centre Israel Folau who crashed over for Brisbane's first try of 2010 in the 19th minute.

Better was to come from the young whiz kid when he flicked a ball out the back to winger Antonio Winterstein in the left corner and backed up on the inside to deliver Lockyer a try and Brisbane a 12-nil lead.

It was almost like a debutants ball as coach Ivan Henjak's infants stood tall, including 20-year-old prop Mitchell Dodds who ripped into the Cowboys pack after being promoted to a starting job alongside Nick Kenny.

Teenage centre Gerard Beale looked dangerous a number of times with the ball in hand while back-rower Matt Gillett lived up to expectations scoring a try after backing up breakaway winger Winterstein in the 28th minute.

Gillett's workload was vital at stages and he looked every bit a NRL class player after starring for Norths in last year's Queensland Cup.

Hooker Andrew McCullough was outstanding in defence along with halfback Peter Wallace.

Willie Mason was booed onto Suncorp Stadium in his debut for the Cowboys but trucked the ball into the teeth of Brisbane's defence.

Cowboys centre Willie Tonga was dangerous in attack but Thurston again was a standout.