2023 NRL Round 1: Broncos 13, Panthers 12

A strong performance by Payne Haas has helped the Broncos produce the season’s first upset, shocking the premiers in Penrith


Brisbane Broncos 13
Tries: Herbie Farnworth (15, 19)
Adam Reynolds (17, 21)
Field Goal: Adam Reynolds (70)

Penrith Panthers 12
Tries: Stephen Crichton (7), Soni Luke (76)
Nathan Cleary (8, 76)

Embed from Getty Images


The Brisbane Broncos have produced the first upset of the 2023 NRL season, stunning reigning premiers Penrith 13-12 at BlueBet Stadium on a wet Friday night.

It was a clunky performance from the premiers; however it was ultimately the Broncos desperate defence that saw them claim the victory.

The Panthers were first to score when a shift from deep inside their own end sent Stephen Crichton in near the posts after just seven minutes.

The Broncos slowly worked their way into the game, scoring on one of their first visits down the Penrith end when a perfect Adam Reynolds pass put Herbie Farnworth outside Crichton to get them on the board. They took the lead as the rain set in four minutes later when Ezra Mam broke through the line and kicked to the corner, where Farnworth won the race to the ball ahead of Brian To’o.

The Panthers went agonisingly close to drawing level on the half hour when a Nathan Cleary kick bounced off the upright to Liam Martin, only for Mam to knock the ball free as he attempted to ground it. The Panthers again went close a minute before half time, however Jesse Arthars narrowly beat Luke Garner to a Cleary grubber, allowing the Broncos to maintain their 12-6 lead to the break.

Penrith’s hopes of coming back were made more difficult shortly after the resumption when Scott Sorenson was forced from the field with a HIA. They had plenty of opportunities to score throughout the second half, however clunky attack and outstanding Brisbane defence saw them repelled at every opportunity.

A successful Captain’s Challenge by Adam Reynolds gave the Broncos rare field position with ten minutes remaining. Reynolds wasted no time in the next set by slotting a field goal under no pressure to give them a 7-point advantage.

Desperate defence by the Broncos continued to deny the Panthers, with a last gasp tackle by Reynolds stopping Jarome Luai on the line with five minutes remaining.

An error coming out of trouble by Corey Oates gifted the Panthers a golden opportunity immediately after. After another repeat set, young hooker Soni Luke darted over next to the posts to cut the deficit back to one.

A strong carry by Isaah Yeo got the Panthers in field goal range in the following set, with Cleary attempting the shot from 45m out. The kick fell short; however Selwyn Cobbo lost the ball in strong Panthers defence, only for Jarome Luai found to be offside in the kick chase, allowing the Broncos to hang on for the win.


Embed from Getty Images

3 – Payne Haas (Broncos)
2 – Adam Reynolds (Broncos)
1 – Liam Martin (Panthers)

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