There were many changes for the Penrith Panthers ahead of their clash with the Brisbane Broncos, but the one most fans wanted to see was how Te Maire Martin would perform. And boy, did he impress.
Although it is still early days, Te Maire Martin showed that he will be a star of the future with a try, some quality runs and the match-winning field goal to give the Panthers the 23-22 win.
It was some justice for the Panthers, who had a debutant win the game for them, just nine days after a debutant won the game for their opponents.
The result very nearly did not materialise for the Panthers, as an Anthony Milford master-class in the first half had the Broncos in control for most of the half.
But the turning point came when the Panthers scored a late try in the first half to give themselves some confidence heading into the break.
Then the second half came along and the Panthers had all the gas and all the running. They pegged the Broncos back and charged forward to put the pressure on the usually stout Broncos defence.
It cracked in uncharacteristic fashion, as the Panthers weaved some magic of their own and pulled back the deficit.
Then, it happened. With just three minutes remaining in the match, Soward received the ball, passed it to Martin and as cool as you like, he slotted the field goal.
It leaves the Broncos left to rue their poor performance, as they face the North Queensland Cowboys next week in the Queensland derby.
The resolve of his side is what pleased Panthers coach Anthony Griffin the most.
“It’s a lot better than last week when we earned a win but didn’t get the points,” Griffin said.
“I was just really happy for the players tonight that they got to experience a win because it was heartbreaking for them last week.
“It’s just a real show of courage from them that they were able to bounce back and find that effort in the second half tonight.
For the Broncos, they need improvement, regardless of their next opposition.
“For us it’s no different regardless of who we’re playing,” said Broncos captain, Corey Parker.
“We want to get back to the standards we set ourselves and that we pride ourselves on. It’s obviously going to be a big game against the Cowboys, but we’re not too worried about them. We’ll just worry about what we’re going to do.”
“You play like that against anyone and we’ll be sitting here having the same conversation. We’ll go back to training, we’ll have a good preparation and we’ll give it our best against the Cowboys. You’re not going to win every game this year, but you certainly don’t want to give a team an easy run like we did there tonight.”
Player of the Game:
3. Anthony Milford
2. Te Maire Martin
1. Bryce Cartwright
Penrith Panthers 23 (Peta Hiku, Bryce Cartwright, Jeremy Latimore, Te Maire Martin tries; Jamie Soward 3 goals; Te Maire Martin field goal) defeated Brisbane Broncos 22 (Anthony Milford 2, Darius Boyd, Ben Hunt tries; Corey Parker 2, Jordan Kahu 1 goals) at Pepper Stadium. Half-time: 22-12 Broncos. Penalties: 6-5 Broncos. Crowd: 12,086.