Broncos defence great, Panthers attack poor
The Panthers had the majority of possession (52%), completed at 80% to the Broncos’ 69%, and they committed fewer errors against a side that couldn’t force one goal-line drop out. Despite that, the Panthers never looked close to beating the Broncos.
It was due to a rock-solid defensive game which was miles better than against the Roosters. Ben Hunt made 44 tackles including some crucial ones that forced errors from the Panthers.
The Panthers’ attack left a lot to be desired. They hardly threatened the line and the Broncos easily shut down any side-to-side plays they attempted. Much like last week, the Panthers played fairly safe and pedestrian for the first hour before deciding to throw caution to the wind in the last 20, which produced their only points.
Casualty ward fills up for both sides
At times the game resembled a war film more than a rugby league match as player after player went down with injury. When Hunt booted a ball straight into Peter Wallace’s face, it resulted him in being sent for a HIA, just the beginning of the carnage to come. Wallace was right to come back on field but played most of the game with blood over his face.
The Broncos were in dire straits as Oates, Thaiday and Arrow all left the field with concussion. Oates was knocked out in a particularly nasty collision with Anthony Milford as they got mixed up on an attacking play. The game was immediately stopped in a good call from the referee to attend to Oates’ welfare while he was taken off the field in a medicab.
Later, Thaiday unintentionally collided with Milford in a tackle attempt. Arrow lasted just three minutes before he reeled out of a tackle, seeing stars. Time off had to be called by the referee as Arrow was taken from the field, looking clueless as to why play was stopped.
The Panthers didn’t have much luck either. Tyrone May suffered a suspected ACL injury while Corey Harawira-Naera played through a lot of discomfort in his shoulder and will be headed for surgery soon.
Storm have easy pickings for next week
They’re the one team in the competition that don’t need any additional help but the Storm are going to get it anyway, as the Broncos were battered and bruised against Penrith. They played well below their best in a scrappy affair that didn’t resemble what semi-final football should look like. The Storm will be overjoyed, as that quality of football would see Melbourne massacre them if they reproduced it in the preliminary final.
The Broncos will be boosted by Darius Boyd’s return next week and the Eels proved that Melbourne aren’t invincible. With a never-say-die attitude and embracing the underdog status, the Broncos can beat the Storm just like they did in the 2006 grand final.
Campbell-Gillard puts forth case for rep honours
One bright spot for the Panthers on Friday night was the amazing performance from Reagan Campbell-Gillard. In a huge 72-minute effort, the young prop looked like the man most likely to makes things happen for Penrith. Whether that says more about the quality of their attack than it does about him is up for debate.
There’s no denying the impact he had on field. He was Penrith’s only try-scorer as he broke through the line from an inside pass from Cartwright to score from 10m out. He tackled his heart out, making 49 for the match while running for 166m.
It’s the type of performance that should put Campbell-Gillard in contention for the Kangaroos’ World Cup team.
Brisbane Broncos – 13
Tries: Corey Oates (7m), James Roberts (47m)
Goals: Jordan Kahu 2/4
Field Goal: Jordan Kahu (70m)
Penrith Panthers – 6
Tries: Reagan Campbell-Gillard (64m)
Goals: Nathan Cleary 1/1