The game itself was not the flashiest by any means but the Brisbane Broncos will take the win, as interchange forward Corey Oates scored the match-winner in the 79th minute.
Needing a try to win or a field-goal to equalise after Matt Moylan’s 1-pointer for Penrith, it went down to the wire, as the Broncos cemented top spot on the competition ladder with a gutsy win.
Skewing a rather easy field goal earlier, Broncos halfback Ben Hunt opted to run the ball down the right edge and that play led to the Oates try.
The game was all about the defensive prowess of both sides, as they toiled and worked hard to ensure the opposition could not score.
Prior to the game, the Panthers were boosted by the return of both Jamie Soward and Elijah Taylor, with the duo forming a crucial part of the Panthers side.
With a whopping five tries disallowed by the video referees, the crowd of almost 25,000 were thinking just when they were going to see some tries scored.
Perhaps the turning point of sorts came in the second half, when Tyrone Peachey had a moment of madness. After the whistle had been blown, he lifted Broncos forward Adam Blair past the horizontal and onto his head.
He was put on report and many were screaming for him to be sent-off, as he awaits the ruling from the judiciary in what could be a rather harsh penalty as a result.
Cover defence, marker defence, ruck defence, any defence – that was what kept the sides in the game, neither giving away an inch.
Playing their strongest spine for the first time this season, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett knows that they will need time to gel.
“I have no doubt at all that it will all come together for them,” Bennett said.
“We just need to start the process and [Darius] is eight weeks behind because he’s been injured. In eight weeks’ time we’ll be looking at a whole different player and we’ll be different as a team the way we play at the back.”
There was some controversy within the game regarding a rule that not many know about or are aware of. It came when Matt Moylan was ruled to have not allowed the ball to travel dead past the dead-ball line, resulting in referee Matt Cecchin calling for a line drop-out.
The decision left Panthers coach Ivan Cleary baffled in every sense.
“He almost ran into the stand to get the ball back! I don’t really know, I’m not sure of the rule or whether it’s a rule, I’m not sure why it would be highlighted like that tonight. Maybe they’re trying to highlight so we change it,” Cleary said.
“Ridiculous and a massive, massive change in a very tight game; instead of getting seven tackles you get to defend your line again.”
Player of the Game:
3. Anthony Milford
2. Joe Ofahengaue
1. Corey Oates
Brisbane Broncos 8 (Jordan Kahu, Corey Oates tries) def. Penrith Panthers 5 (Matt Moylan 2 goals; Moylan field goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Crowd: 24,566. Half-time: Broncos 4-2. On report: Tyrone Peachey (Panthers, 60th minute).