Michael Gordon, who would have been guaranteed a spot on the wing for NSW was playing fabulously well, before he suffered an injury in the 70th minute, believed to be a possible anterior cruciate ligament injury, that would end his season.
The Broncos Justin Hodges was also injured, re-injuring his hamstring, with a grade 1 tear believed to have all but ruled the star centre out of the first Origin game.
Gordon was simply unstoppable, as he scored one try himself, and set up three others for the Panthers, with two for Brad Tighe, and one for Timana Tahu.
The injuries did not end there however, with Timana Tahu also in doubt for the remainder of the year, after he suffered a potentially serious torn pectoral injury, with an injured shoulder also plaguing Broncos five-eighth, Darren Lockyer.
Despite the injury, Gordon is still optimistic about his chances, and maintains hope that he can be fit in time for Origin.
“I won’t really know until (Saturday), it feels fine now but you never really know with these things,” he said.
“(But) if it’s as bad as they say, I’ll miss the rest of the season.”
Luke Lewis was also a stand-out, as he made a return from injury, Â and appeared to give the Panthers an added spark in attack.
For the first time this season, Broncos coach Anthony Griffin said that his side had let themselves down with their performance.
“It wasn’t a good night … they were just way too good for us,” Griffin said.
“For the first time this year we let each other down.”
The match took somewhat of an unexpected turn, when two of the nicest guys in League, in Petero Civoniceva and Corey Parker were sent to the sin bin.
Civoniceva went for conceding back-to-back penalties, and Parker went, after referee Matt Cecchin objected to a comment made by the Broncos lock.
Parker was heard to say “I can say whatever I like to my players”, to which Cecchin replied “I’ve been around long enough to know where it was aimed”.
Dally M Points
3 Michael Gordon
2 Luke Lewis
1 Brad Tighe