A spirited Panthers side have fallen to a 32-18 defeat at the hands of the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.
The Panthers had only themselves to blame after a lacklustre first half gifted the Broncos an unassailable 22-0 lead at the break, despite staging a late comeback to give the hosts a fright.
Anthony Griffin handed a late call up to Viliame Kikau, who came on to the bench in place of Moses Leota, following his impressive form in Intrust Super Premiership.
A penalty to the Panthers assisted them up field and looked to have led to the first points of the game when James Tamou pounced on a loose ball from a Josh McGuire tackle, but the Bunker controversially ruled against the Panthers.
That would come back to hurt the visitors after an error on halfway gifted possession to the Broncos. They immediately capitalised when James Roberts found open space from the scrum, leading to Kodi Nikorima crossing over for the hosts in the 11th minute. Jordan Kahu converted the try to give the Broncos a 6-0 lead.
Another error gifted the Broncos their second try in the 18th minute when Isaiah Yeo spilled a pass and allowed Roberts to sprint ninety metres to the line. Kahu couldn’t convert and the score remained 10-0.
Half an hour passed and the home side had their third thanks to Kahu. The winger rose above Peta Hiku to mark an Anthony Milford bomb, before converting his own try to make it 16-0.
Three minutes later, a line-break on halfway from Alex Glenn led to the Broncos’ fourth try as the ball spread to the left wing for Tautau Moga to cross over. Kahu added the extras to extend the lead to 22 points, which they would take in to half-time.
HALF-TIME: Brisbane Broncos 22 – 0 Penrith Panthers
The Panthers started brightly in the second half but were getting no love from the men with the whistle and again the Broncos capitalised on a decision that went their way. The referee sent a decision to the Bunker in the 50th minute for a possible Korbin Sims four-pointer and ruled to have insufficient evidence to overturn the live decision of try. Kahu converted to make it 28-0.
The Panthers continued to toil away despite the score line and had a try to show for their efforts when Trent Merrin worked his way over in the 65th minute. The lock forward spun away from a handful of defenders to get his side’s first points, before Nathan Cleary added extras to make it 28-6.
The visitors had their second two minutes later when Matt Moylan finished off a sweeping Panthers move on the left edge. Cleary landed the conversion to cut the Broncos’ lead to 16.
An improbable comeback looked to be on the cards when Reagan Campbell-Gillard charged through a gap in the Broncos defence in the 72nd minute and Cleary landed his third conversion to bring the Panthers to within ten points.
But the Panthers left themselves too much to do in the final stages and a try to Matt Gillett on the siren wrapped up the win for Brisbane.
FULL TIME: Brisbane Broncos 32 – 18 Penrith Panthers