In the first upset of the 2023 season, the Brisbane Broncos have shown they have the mettle to challenge for the title after they defeated the reigning champs in the Penrith Panthers at Bluebet Stadium.
In a game that had everything, one thing was clear; the Panthers may miss Viliame Kikau and Api Koroisau more than people think.
The Panthers would be the ones to open the scoring with a try from inside their own half.
A nice pass from Nathan Cleary put Liam Martin in space before he found Dylan Edwards backing up on his inside.
Not able to evade the fullback, Stephen Crichton then looped around behind Edwards and was able to show his speed to score.
The Broncos would soon hit back via Herbie Farnworth who took a pass from Adam Reynolds and was able to avoid Crichton, pining for an intercept, to bolt over and score.
Farnworth would score again just two minutes later when a kick was put through and he won the race to the ball against Brian To’o.
From here on out, the game became a genuine arm wrestle with defence reigning supreme.
It was only the introduction of bench hooker Soni Luke, that seemed to give Penrith and the game some added spark.
In an attempt to seal the deal, Reynolds calmly slotted a field goal to give the Broncos a 7-point advantage.
And it would be Luke who would break the try-scoring drought as he burrowed his way over to score from close range.
This would make things interesting but the Broncos would hold on for the narrow victory and the upset.
Broncos coach Kevin Walters praised his side’s effort and resolve and says it is the best defence he has seen from his side in three years.
“As a whole the effort there was really good, particularly our try-line defence,” Walters said.
“That’s the best defence I’ve seen since I’ve been at the club in the last three years.”
Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary put the loss down to some early season rust but admits they do have some work to do.
“A little bit of early-season rust,” Cleary said.
“We’ve got some work to do there but I’m sure we’ll do it.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Herbie Farnworth (BRI)
2. Pat Carrigan (BRI)
1. Isaah Yeo (PEN)