Brisbane Broncos moved a step closer to the NRL playoffs with a key 24-12 win over fellow playoff hopefuls Penrith Panthers.
It looked as if Brisbane had suffered a poor start when Jake Turpin was sent to the sin bin for a swinging arm on Dylan Edwards but when the halfback returned, his side were 6-0 up thanks to Kotoni Staggs’ try. Jamayne Isaako converted the try and added a penalty to make the home side’s lead eight.
The Panthers were second best but were able to head in at half-time only two behind when Nathan Cleary stepped off his left foot and burrowed over.
Brisbane came out firing in the second half with two tries for Isaako. The winger crossed off a passing move on the right before getting on the end of a grubber kick from Anthony Milford. The Panthers had a try disallowed in the middle as Brent Naden just couldn’t ground Mitchell Kenny’s kick.
But Penrith did get themselves back into the game when Brian To’o came back on the inside off Dean Whare’s flick pass. The Panthers pushed for an equaliser but Payne Haas’ rampaging run gave Brisbane room with six minutes to go.
Tevita Pangai Jnr’s sin bin for a crusher tackle on James Maloney couldn’t help Penrith.
Broncos: Milford, Isaako, Staggs, Shibasaki, Oates, Boyd, Turpin, Lodge, McCullough, Haas, Fifita, Pangai jnr, Ofahengaue; Interchanges: Segeyaro, Flegler, Carrigan, Perese
Tries: Staggs, Isaako 2, Haas; Goals: Isaako 4
Sin bins: Turpin (8) – swinging arm, Pangai Jnr (79) – dangerous contact
Panthers: Edwards, Mansour, Whare, Naden, To’o, Maloney, Cleary, Tamou, Kenny, Fisher-Harris, Kikau, Martin, Leota; Interchanges: Yeo, Katoa, Leniu, Campbell-Gillard
Tries: Cleary, To’o; Goals: Cleary 2
On report: Kikau (29) – high tackle
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.