Penrith Panthers vs Brisbane Broncos Live Updates Teams Score Video Nathan Cleary Adam Reynolds

The Broncos produced the first big upset of the season, beating the incumbent Premiers 13-12 in Penrith in a thrilling contest.

The Panthers may have started their 2023 campaign in style with an exciting try – but were soon humiliated by a hungry Broncos outfit.

Nathan Cleary, Stephen Crichton, Liam Martin and Dylan Edwards all scored before Crichton crossed in the seventh minute.

But it wasn’t long before the Broncos hit back, with Herbie Farnworth scoring two tries in four minutes to take the lead.

GAME CENTER: Panthers vs. Broncos live stats, standings, video

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The second was particularly exciting as he defeated Brian To’o in a race to place a ball with one hand before going over the dead ball line.

However, Brisbane suffered an early setback when Kotoni Staggs was forced off the field for an HIA. The Star-Center was able to bounce back after halftime but left again in the final 11 minutes after succumbing to convulsions.

Unfortunately, Penrith’s Scott Sorensen was not so lucky with his HIA and was forced to watch from the touchline for the final 36 minutes after his head collided with Keenan Palasia’s hip.

The reigning Premiers changed the momentum when they forced Selwyn Cobbo over the touchline for a second time, but Brisbane’s goal-line defense held up.

Broncos skipper Adam Reynolds scored a field goal to extend his team’s lead by seven.

But six minutes later, Penrith’s bank whore Soni Luke crossed from the dummy half and Nathan Cleary converted to close that gap to a point.

It wasn’t enough and eventually a mistake by Cleary sealed the Broncos’ victory.

Here are the key takeaways from the game.

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Between Kotoni Staggs’ flawless reads, Adam Reynolds’ scramble and the entire team’s desperate goal-line efforts, Brisbane’s defense won the game.

Staggs made his mark with his kick pressure and a brutal shutdown by Jarome Luai in the last tackle. The Star-Center only played 57 minutes, but he made 19 tackles with zero misses.

Reynolds was also on point, and with seven minutes left he and Billy Walters managed a try-saver against Luai.

It was efforts like this that kept the Panthers at bay for most of the game.

“This is a great moment,” Broncos legend Gordon Tallis said of the Fox League win.

“I think it’s the first time in a couple of years that I’ve seen that much resilience on their tryline on defense. I don’t know how many sets the Panthers had at 20 yards (starting full-time).

“It was one of those moments where Brisbane dug deep. Penrith had their chances, they threw everything at them and I think it’s a moment where the Broncos believed in themselves.


It’s almost impossible for the Panthers to replace Api Koroisau, but the ingredients are there – if coach Ivan Cleary gets his timing right.

Mitch Kenny started at Hooker and while he put in a mountain of work on defense it was clear the Panthers lacked the spark from Koroisau

“It looked a little predictable, it was a little slow for Penrith,” Fox League analyst Michael Ennis said of Penrith’s attack.

“There is no doubt that they lack Api Koroisau’s cunning in the dummy half-area and certainly Viliame Kikau’s presence on the left.”

The Broncos made a hooker switch in the 27th minute, with Cory Paix replacing Billy Walters, giving the team an extra kick.

But Cleary didn’t make the same change until the 54th minute – and the 27-year-old hooker had an immediate impact.

Luke was constantly scheming, picking up some smooth balls and using some pinpoint cultivators. He then hit under the post in the 76th minute to keep the Panthers in touch with a win.

“They’ve been a different team since Soni Luke got into the action. They missed Koroisau and Luke evolved with that deception, skill and ability to give the opposition a headache.”

Panthers legend Greg Alexander agreed, saying in post-game coverage: “Soni Luke came on the field and made a difference.

“He got Penrith back in the game with his runs from the dummy half, that’s a positive for Penrith,” he added.


Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary conceded before the game that there was “obvious rust” in their loss to the World Club Challenge – but that rust was still there against Brisbane.

The loss of elite hooker Api Koroisau and three-time Dally M second-rower of the year Viliame Kikau was hard to feel on Friday night, with Michael Ennis pointing out that the Panthers’ attack looked “a pace” without them.

“If I only look at the left side, I know that we will talk about the losses of Koroisau and Kikau all season long, but they are just a bit one-sided,” he said.

“Jarome Luai is looking a little lost at the moment, he’s gone short a couple of times and (Luke) Garner has been a little flat footed. The time is just not there yet.”

Panthers legend Greg Alexander conceded it would always happen after saying goodbye to two of their key players.

“I think everyone realizes that this season would be different,” said Alexander.

“This is not 2022 or 2021, this is a different Penrith side, they have two Premiership wins behind them.

“But the challenge is enormous and takes away the two players who have since moved to other clubs, Kikau and Koroisau.

“No matter how you sugarcoat it, these are massive casualties and they will take time.”

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