The Brisbane Broncos solidified their spot inside the top eight with a win against the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
The Panthers had plenty of opportunities early but poor ball control let them down time after time. They had a one-man advantage after Jake Turpin was sent to the sin bin for a swinging arm on Dylan Edwards, but it was the Broncos who scored first through Kotoni Staggs after some strong play from Andrew McCullough. Penrith could not take advantage of constant good field position, with the Broncos extending their lead through a Jamayne Isaako penalty goal. It took until the 36th minute for them to get their first points on the board, when Nathan Cleary broke through the line to score next to the posts to make it 8-6 at half time.
The Broncos got off to the perfect start in the second half, when Isaako scored the first of his two tries in the 43rd minute, before jumping on an Anthony Milford grubber 10 minutes later for his second to extend their lead to 18-6. The Panthers bounced back when Brian To’o shot back inside from a Dean Whare pass to score next to the posts and reduce the deficit to six points. Poor ball control and ill-discipline continued to let the Panthers down before Payne Haas iced the result with a brilliant solo try in the 73rd minute.
Payne Haas Leads from the Front
At just 19 years of age, Payne Haas is already establishing himself as one of the best props in the competition. He ran for a whopping 219 metres – including 71 post contact – and 2 line breaks.
He also added 12 tackle breaks for good measure, including 3 in a row in his brilliant solo try, where he broke a dented Panthers defensive line before putting on the afterburners to run around fullback Dylan Edwards to seal the win.
Ill-Discipline Hurts the Panthers Once Again
It’s an issue that has plagued the Panthers all season, and once again their ill-discipline and poor ball control were at the forefront of their latest loss.
The Panthers’ completion rate was sitting at below 60 per cent at the end of the first half, and it didn’t get much better in the second, finishing the match with just 27 completed sets out of 39. They made a massive 15 errors, often in good field position, to ensure they wouldn’t get the desired result.
Broncos’ Defence Stands Tall
While the Panthers’ poor ball control played a role, the Broncos’ defence stepped up at important times throughout the match.
Particularly late in the second half, when they held a slender six-point lead, the Panthers had numerous attacking sets in good field position, but the Broncos were able to repel them at every turn. Coming up against a dangerous Rabbitohs side next week with attacking threats all over the park, the Broncos will need to repeat that effort if they want to come away with the two points.
Is the Send Off Dead?
While the Broncos were forced to deal with two sin bins throughout the 80 minutes, one of those incidents probably deserved more.
Just seven minutes into the match, Dylan Edwards was returning a kick before he lost his footing and slid to the ground. Jake Turpin then came in to lay the tackle with a swinging arm straight to Edwards’ face. It was an act that had to be deliberate and probably should have resulted in a send off. It’s unlikely it would have changed the result given how poor the Panthers were, but Turpin can expect a severe penalty from the match review committee.
Brisbane Broncos 24
Tries: Jamayne Isaako (2), Kotoni Staggs, Payne Haas
Goals: Isaako 4/5
Penrith Panthers 12
Tries: Nathan Cleary, Brian To’o
Goals: Cleary 2/2
Brisbane Broncos: 1 Anthony Milford, 2 Corey Oates, 3 Kotoni Staggs, 4 Gehamat Shibasaki, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Darius Boyd, 7 Jake Turpin, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Payne Haas, 11 David Fifita, 12 Tevita Pangai Jnr, 13 Joe Ofahengaue. Interchange:14 James Segeyaro, 15 Thomas Flegler, 17 Patrick Carrigan, 20 Izaia Perese.
Penrith Panthers: 1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Josh Mansour 18 Dean Whare, 4 Brent Naden, 5 Brian To’o, 6 James Maloney, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 James Tamou, 9 Mitchell Kenny, 10 James Fisher-Harris, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Liam Martin, 16 Moses Leota. Interchange:13 Isaah Yeo, 14 Sione Katoa, 15 Spencer Leniu, 17 Reagan Campbell-Gillard