Penrith Panthers maintained their unbeaten run by defeating a stubborn Brisbane Broncos 25-12 at Suncorp Stadium.
The competition leaders have now won 12 games in a row but were made to work hard by the Broncos who themselves can’t buy a victory and remain second from bottom without a chance of playing in the Finals.
Brisbane started the game positively and were in front on ten minutes when Darius Boyd sent Kotoni Staggs in. But Penrith equalised 15 minutes later. Tom Dearden failed to grab Jarome Luai and he was able to set up Josh Mansour on his outside.
Nathan Cleary opened up a lead for the Panthers with a penalty before his kick provided a try for the returning Kurt Capewell.
After the break, Cleary’s short kicking game then provided a try for his halfback partner Luai. Brisbane responded well through Jordan Riki after he broke into the backfield off a pass from Dearden.
But a great passing move to the right saw Brian To’o regain the momentum for Penrith with a try. With three minutes to go, Cleary got some field goal practice in by slotting one from 30 yards.
Broncos: Boyd, Oates, Staggs, Farnworth, Kennar, O’Sullivan, Dealten, Haas, Luke, Kennedy, Fifita, Te’o, Carrigan; Interchanges: Paix, Riki, Bullemor, Hopoate
Tries: Staggs, Riki; Goals: Staggs 2
Panthers: Edwards, Mansour, Naden, Crichton, To’o, Luai, Cleary, Tamou, Koroisau, Leota, Kikau, Martin, Fisher-Harris; Interchanges: May, Leniu, Capewell, Tetevano
Tries: Mansour, Capewell, Luai, To’o; Goals: Cleary 4; Field goal: Cleary (77)
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.