Edwards left to rue hands of Kodi
It was the moment that a preliminary final berth was tantalisingly in reach for Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards only to have it cruelly snatched away by his Broncos opposite in the final minutes of Friday night's semi-final.
After Reagan Campbell-Gillard had crashed over for his side's first try of the night 16 minutes from full-time, Penrith continued to attack the Brisbane line with a flurry of offloads only to be turned away time and again by desperate Brisbane defence.
With momentum running their way, halfback Nathan Cleary chipped a bomb off the outside of his right boot for Edwards to chase through but just as he was about to snare the Steeden and plant it over the line, Kodi Nikorima swept in and stole the ball from his grasp.
It would prove to be Penrith's best chance to bridge the gap in the closing minutes and left Edwards to wonder just how close he came.
"I went up for it hoping to get it but it was going to be a tough catch," Edwards told NRL.com.
"I would have liked to have come away with it, it would have been nice, but credit to him, he jumped up a bit higher than me and came down with it."
No team has scored anywhere near the 21 tries that the Panthers have scored in the final 10 minutes of games this season and despite the difficulty they had in scoring their first points, Edwards said they believed they were coming home the stronger.
"We always talk about the fact that we know the last 20 [minutes] is our best 20," Edwards said.
"We knew if we could be in touch we'd have a good crack but it wasn't to be tonight.
"We did always have that belief though."
Losing five-eighth Tyrone May to a suspected ACL injury a minute from half-time caused further disruptions to a Panthers attack that struggled for penetration all night
"It doesn't help when you lose a key position player like that and to Brisbane's credit their defence just kept turning up," Griffin said of the loss of May for the second half.
"We just couldn't convert the field position we had.
"We got pulled down centimetres short a few times and took a couple of wrong options but we obviously needed to be better than that tonight with the opportunities we had.
"We probably created enough chances to score a few more tries against a defence that wasn't as committed as them, but it's a knockout semi and they were always going to be like that.
"They scrambled like hell and just kept turning us away which was the frustrating thing."
Like Griffin, captain Peter Wallace lamented the fact that despite numerous opportunities attacking Brisbane's line, particularly in the second half, that they were only able to convert one into points.
"We probably didn't take a couple of the chances that we did have," Wallace said.
"You only get a few chances in finals like that and we probably didn't take them but the Broncos turned up tonight.
"They defended really well, scrambled really hard and we knew they were going to do that but we just couldn't convert field position unfortunately."