In the opening match of Suncorp Stadium’s double header on Friday night, the Brisbane Broncos failed to bring their sizzling succession of wins to six when they were defeated 22 – 12 by the Panthers in front of a huge crowed of over 40,000 Queenslanders.
Brisbane were coming off five straight wins, but with the youngsters having to back up less than a week after their huge 50 – 22 win ahead of the Rabbitohs and Origin stars Lockyer, Thaiday and Folau playing just two nights after Queensland’s 34 – 6 trouncing of New South Wales in Wednesday night’s State of Origin, the Broncos felt the pressure and looked a little tiered.
Penrith hit them with everything they had including star fullback Lachlan Coote, and the number two team proved too strong. With the loss the Broncos dropped on the ladder and are only just still in the top eight.
On Friday night it was Penrith who were first to score when Adrian Purtell opened their account in the 17th minute after latching onto a Lockyer cut-out pass and sprinting 80 metres to score. Gordon missed the conversion and it was 4 – 0 in favour of the visitors after the first quarter.
This came after two close calls by Brisbane. First the flying Folau got over the line but was held up, and then in a controversial call by the ref Gavin Badger, Jharal Yow Yeh was denied a try in the 15th minute. Badger disallowed Yow Yeh’s try without consulting the video ref and the poor decision really took the spring out of Brisbane’s step.
In a close first half the Broncos fought back 10 minute later when Antonio Winterstein scored Brisbane’s opening try in the 28th minute; Corey Parker’s conversion giving the home side a two point advantage.
Just when it looked as though the Broncos would head into half time ahead, Panther’s in-form young No. 1 Coote scored a 37th minute airborne try and with Michael Gordon converting this one, Penrith took a 10 – 6 lead to the sheds.
Back from the break it was a lacklustre effort by the Broncos who were looking worn and weary, and it was the Panthers who were first to score when skipper Luke Lewis got over in the 51st minute. The try extended their lead 14 – 6, putting pressure on Brisbane to come up with something.
Then just to make a Broncos’ comeback that little more difficult, Penrith were awarded a penalty after a rare mistake by skipper Darren Lockyer. They took the kick in the 60th minute and were another two in front.
In the 72nd minute halfback Peter Wallace was able to score a second four-pointer for the Broncos after a tap penalty. Parker converted again to narrow the deficit to just four points and igniting hope in the crowd that Brisbane could work some late magic and win.
But it wasn’t to be as the Panther’s hooker Kevin Kingston put the result beyond doubt with a fourth and final try for Penrith in the dying moments of the game after he scooted out of dummy half and got through some weak Broncos defence. Gordon converted seconds before full time and the Panthers won 22 – 12.
This week the Broncos have another tough match when they travel to Parramatta to play the Eels, while the Panthers will face off against the Sea Eagles. Both games are set to be show stoppers, so don’t forget to get your bet on at SportsBet!