The Panthers began their 2023 season impressively, but were quickly brought down to earth by a determined Broncos team.
In a packed BlueBet Stadium, Penrith made a stunning start, scoring a thrilling try within the opening 10 minutes. Nathan Cleary, Stephen Crichton, Liam Martin, and Dylan Edwards combined well, with Crichton crossing the line in the seventh minute.
However, the Broncos responded swiftly, with Herbie Farnworth scoring two tries in just four minutes to take the lead. His second try was particularly exciting, as he beat Brian To’o in a footrace to the ball and planted it down with one hand just before it went out of bounds.
Brisbane suffered an untimely setback when Kotoni Staggs was forced off the field for a H.I.A. Although he was able to return after halftime, he left the field again in the final 11 minutes due to cramps.
Unfortunately for Penrith, Scott Sorensen suffered a more serious H.I.A when his head collided with Keenan Palasia’s hip, and he had to sit out the final 36 minutes of the game.
The reigning premiers gained some momentum when they forced Selwyn Cobbo out of bounds for the second time, but the Broncos’ goal-line defence held up. Broncos captain Adam Reynolds scored a field goal to extend his side’s lead to seven points, but six minutes later, Penrith’s substitute hooker Soni Luke scored a try from dummy half, and Nathan Cleary converted to narrow the gap to just one point.