Many were tipping a landslide win for the Penrith Panthers but the Brisbane Broncos had other ideas.
The two sides are tracking in very different directions results wise but the Broncos dug deep and found their drive and resolve.
It was a genuine arm wrestle between the two sides as the Broncos forwards outmatched and outplayed their more fancied opponents.
It would be the Panthers that took the lead when Kurt Capewell continued his try-scoring exploits.
Capewell ran onto a lovely short ball and had a straightforward passage to the line.
The Broncos proved they were up for the battle, however, and they were led by Tevita Pangai Junior.
The enforcer got the Broncos on the board when he caught the ball from a Richard Kennar tap back and wrapped around Matt Burton to score in the corner.
Burton would then score a try of his own when a simple overlap down the left saw him in yards of space.
Proving that they are slowly becoming a unit, the Broncos were not about to lie down.
Young forward Ethan Bullemor showed surprising speed as he hit a gap from a Brodie Croft pass.
Bullemor was able to easily sidestep Panthers’ fullback Stephen Crichton to give the Broncos renewed confidence.
A hard-fought battle ensued for much of the second half until Nathan Cleary stepped up to the plate and slotted the second 40+ metre field goal in NRL history.
The Panthers went up 14-12 after that before Cleary iced the cake when he ran hard off a Luai short pass to carry a couple of defenders over to score.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary praised his son’s efforts and says his confidence continues to grow.
“He is getting better, he is seeing the game slowing down for him a bit,” Ivan Cleary said.
“In those big moments and he has had a fair share of them now, he can see what to do and he got the execution part right.
“He has played four finals series, three Origin series and is sort of racking those up and it’s just experience and confidence.”
Broncos prop Matt Lodge, who led the way alongside Pangai Junior, knows the side is building but says they lacked the polish to ice the win.
“When we had good ball we didn’t take our chances and put them under pressure so you know they did when they got down there and they end up winning the game,” Lodge said.
“That’s disappointing because we didn’t throw much on their try line.
“You know we tried hard, we defended well and we carried the ball strongly but when it comes down to the polish and the nice plays we didn’t get it on.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Tevita Pangai Junior (BRI)
2. Nathan Cleary (PEN)
1. Matt Lodge (BRI)