BRISBANE - It was ugly to the end but Brisbane ground out a 16-12 NRL win over Queensland rivals North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
It was far from champagne rugby league, with the combined error count soaring to 24 that did little to dull the spirits of the 42,303-strong crowd.
Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough sealed the result six minutes from fulltime when Dale Copley put him through a gap to score under the posts.
The Cowboys pressed the line with just seconds left on the clock before Johnathan Thurston knocked the ball on centimetres from the tryline.
Broncos prop Josh McGuire was placed on report twice for two separate incidents - the first for a swinging arm on Gavin Cooper and then for a late shot on the legs of halfback Robert Lui.
The front-rower was then ruled to have obstructed play in the 60th minute when Ben Hunt crossed the line, denying a try that would have put the Broncos in front instead of trailing 12-10.
It took just seven minutes for star recruit Ben Barba to show his magic, popping an inside ball to Matt Gillett who busted straight through the attempted tackles of Jason Taumalolo and Glenn Hall to score under the posts.
Thurston got his try next tackle, with prop James Tamou busting through the line and popping up a pass for his Australian teammate to score.
Makeshift five-eighth Josh Hoffman, playing just his second NRL match in the position, put in a peach of a cross-field grubber for Daniel Vidot to latch on to and give the Broncos a 10-6 halftime lead.
But the Cowboys levelled the scores again in the 48th minute when winger Kyle Feldt batted back a Lui cross-field kick for Cooper to pounce on and score.
McGuire's shot on Lui and the ensuing penalty allowed Thurston to put his side in front 12-10, kicking a goal from just to the left of the uprights.
Linnett was denied a try in the 67th minute when he knocked the ball on trying to ground it in the left corner.
The narrow margin continued the intense rivalry that has included four of the last seven games between the two teams being won by just two points.