Sunday 20 August 2017 / 10:14 AM

NRL THURSDAY: BRONCOS SURVIVE PANTHER RALLY

BRONCOS 32 d. PANTHERS 18 @ Suncorp Stadium

Brisbane surged to a fourth straight win on the back of a blistering first-half display against a woeful Penrith, but a late fadeout was compounded by James Roberts’ departure with a knee injury in the dying minutes.

THE MATCH: After a contentious no-try ruling against the Panthers early on, Broncos centre Roberts made a searing break from an 11th-minute scrum before combining with Jordan Kahu to set up Kodi Nikorima for the first try.

Seven minutes later, a Panthers handling error allowed Roberts to embark on a breath-taking 80-metre run to the line for 10-0.

The Panthers’ attempts to gain traction came undone through impatient attack, before Kahu scored a brilliant try from a bomb on the half-hour mark and Tautau Moga finished off a stunning 70-metre movement just three tackles after the kick-off.

Korbin Sims made it 28-0 when he steamed over under the posts 10 minutes into the second half, but the visitors’ threadbare defence tightened up from that point.

Trent Merrin belated got the Panthers off the mark in the 65th minute, and subsequent tries to an on-fire Matt Moylan (68th minute) and Reagan Campbell-Gillard (72nd) suddenly set up a nerve-jangling finish at 28-18.

The Broncos held their nerve to shut down the Panthers’ late raids and iced the win with a try on the buzzer to Matt Gillett from a clever blindside scrum move, but they now wait on tenterhooks for the prognosis on Roberts’ knee injury.

Meanwhile, the Panthers’ finals hopes are already on life support after mustering just two wins in the opening nine rounds.

THE MAN: Josh McGuire answered his Test snub in the best way possible, racking up a game-high 170 metres and finishing second in the tackle count with 44. The Broncos miss Corey Parker, but McGuire is about as good a replacement in the No.13 jumper the club could hope for, competing on every play and producing a phenomenal output. He shapes as a key part of Queensland’s Origin campaign.

THE MOMENT: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is back to reclaim the Kiwis No.1 jersey Jordan Kahu occupied throughout 2016, but the Broncos winger provided a reminder that he is a must somewhere in the backline for next weekend’s clash with the Kangaroos with his wonderful first-half try. Great leap and grab, big step and pace to finish it off – Kahu is one of the most skilful outside backs in the NRL.

[YouTube – Rugby League/Union]

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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