A powerhouse display from Tevita Pangai has inspired Brisbane's 29-10 NRL win over a battered and bruised North Queensland at a packed Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
The Tongan wrecking ball was a man on a mission, monstering the Cowboys to help open Brisbane's 2019 winning account in front of 45,023 fans.
North Queensland had no answer to Pangai's heroics especially after inspirational lock Jason Taumalolo suffered a knee injury early in the second round clash.
Former Dally M Medallist Taumalolo wasn't given a chance to back up his phenomenal 301m effort in North Queensland's first round win over St George Illawarra, suffering a medial knee complaint in his first hit-up of the match.
He bravely battled on however did not return to the field in the second half.
In another worry for Cowboys coach Paul Green, winger Nene Macdonald and utility John Asiata also failed to finish the match with head knocks, forcing a backline reshuffle that at one stage left second-rower Mitch Dunn at pivot.
Pangai was relegated to the bench in Brisbane's first round loss to Melbourne after battling back from a hamstring injury.
However, the livewire forward looked like he wanted to prove a point after being thrown a starting front-row berth by new coach Anthony Seibold, stepping up for the suspended Matt Lodge.
He played like a man possessed, pulling off hit after hit to leave North Queensland shell-shocked from the outset and finished with a total of 115m while also helping himself to a 47th minute try.
"Starting on the bench last week he was probably a bit disappointed but tonight he made every post a winner, he was really dominant," Seibold said.
"The challenge is to back that up week in, week out.
"There are some outstanding forwards in the NRL - Sam Burgess and Jason Taumalolo come to mind - and Tevita has potential.
"He has some work to do no doubt. He understands where he is at. He is working on being the best version of himself."
Centre James Roberts proved he was over a back injury that cut short his first round clash, nabbing a try scoring double along with winger Corey Oates.
The Broncos grabbed a 10-0 halftime lead before kicking on with Oates scoring his 12th try in six games and Roberts helping himself to the eighth double of his career.
It finally broke Seibold's winning duck with the Brisbane reins as the hosts claimed their seventh win in eight games against North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.
North Queensland didn't get on the board until ex-Bronco Jordan Kahu crashed over in the 60th minute.
"I am pretty disappointed. Physically we were not in the contest early and didn't go with them," Green said.
Australian Associated Press