Broncos’ first-half show too hot for the Panthers

Brisbane Broncos defeated Penrith Panthers 32-18 today at Suncorp Stadium, after having been 22-0 ahead at half-time. The Panthers fought back to score three tries after the interval, but they were unable to get back on terms.

For the Broncos Herman Ese’ese and Alex Glenn came into their starting side with Korbin Sims and Sam Thaiday moving back onto the bench.

Viliame Kikau replaced Moses Leota on the Panthers’ bench in their only change.

The Panthers were unlucky when the video-referee turned down a James Tamou try claim on five minutes for a controversial ruling for a knock-on by Peter Wallace as Josh McGuire tackled him and appeared to dislodge the ball.

The Broncos then hit the Panthers with four spectacular tries, with speedster James Roberts playing a prominent role, initially making a superb break to create a try for Kodi Nikorima, then touching down himself with a long range effort after Isaah Yeo had dropped the ball.

Jordan Kahu then touched down when he jumped to catch an Anthony Milford bomb in the face of a static Penrith defence, and then Tautau Moga scored on the left after more superb ball movment from the Broncos. Kahu converted three of the four tries for a 22-0 half-time lead.

The Broncos increased their lead to 28 points with a converted try by Korbin Sims, but then the Panthers staged a mini-revival with tries from Trent Merrin and Matt Moylan, both converted by Nathan Cleary, to reduce the deficit to 16 points after 70 minutes.

Two minutes later Reagan Campbell-Gillard touched down for the Panthers’ third try, again converted by Cleary to make the score 28-18 and the Panthers had visions of completing a stunning comeback.

But they couldn’t score again and in the final seconds of the game Matt Gillett got over the line from a scrum move, with Kahu’s conversion attempt hitting the crossbar and bouncing out.

Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd (c), 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 4 Tautau Moga, 5 Jordan Kahu, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Kodi Nikorima, 16 Herman Ese’ese, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Adam Blair, 14 Alex Glenn, 12 Matt Gillett, 13 Josh McGuire: Interchange: 8 Korbin Sims, 11 Sam Thaiday, 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 17 David Mead.

Panthers: 1 Matt Moylan (c), 2 Peta Hiku, 3 Dean Whare, 4 Waqa Blake, 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6 Bryce Cartwright, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 James Tamou, 9 Peter Wallace, 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Corey Harawira-Naera, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 Trent Merrin; Interchange: 14 Tyrone Peachey, 15 Leilani Latu, 16 Tim Browne, 20 Viliame Kikau,

A full review of all the weekend’s NRL action will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express