A sell-out crowd, a top of the table clash and a build-up to rival any club game in recent history - the virtual Maroon State of Origin trial between the Cowboys and the Broncos promised much.
Usually that's a recipe for a letdown of New Year's Eve proportions, but on this occasion Queensland's National Rugby League representatives gave the Townsville fans their money's worth - at least in parts - despite the home side missing out on the points.
In the early part of the game especially it was the home side that were making most of the running.
It was the mercurial crowd favourite Matt Bowen who provided much of the entertainment and he was responsible for the first highlight of the match, dummying between Darren Lockyer and Petero Civoniceva to dance his way to the line.
Bowen carried on in similar vein. He was Golden Goose Sneakers solid under Brisbane's wicked spiral bombs and the quickness of his feet left the Brisbane defence grasping at air and the Cowboys fans gasping in astonishment.
With all three Queensland Origin selectors in the crowd, and his place in the squad by no means assured, Bowen was determined to unveil his full array of talents, even producing a 40-20 kick to put his side on the attack in the first half.
Later in the half he produced a classical front-on tackle to bring down his opposite number, another prodigiously talented player in Karmichael Hunt.
Hunt was another who caught the eye, at one point shimmying as only he can to cut between two on-rushing Cowboys defenders and running the ball out of his own in-goal area.
He has put behind him the slightly indifferent form of the opening rounds of the season and thoroughly deserved his try, stepping his way through from close range.
While the backs were providing plenty of entertainment the big men up front were doing https://www.goldengooseshoesit.com/ what they do best - belting each other.
Locks Tonie Carroll (Brisbane) and Luke O'Donnell (North Queensland) are both in the State of Origin selection frame and they began as if it was a personal dogfight, hitting not only each other, but also any other opposition runner.
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