The Panthers made it six wins in a row to start their premiership defence with a 40-12 victory over the Broncos at BlueBet Stadium on Friday night.
With Scott Sorensen playing a starring role from the bench and Api Koroisau controlling the ruck the Panthers kicked away in the second half to rack up their 20th win on the trot at home.
A confident start by the Broncos was rewarded with first points in the 11th minute when Tesi Niu crossed after Kotoni Staggs left Izack Tago and Jarome Luai in his wake before offloading to his fullback.
The Panthers clicked into gear in the 21st minute when Luai beat a couple of defenders on his way to the line and scores were level at 6-6.
Staggs was in the thick of the action again in the 26th minute when he chased a Niu grubber and looked to have given Brisbane the lead but replays showed the star centre had lost the ball on the way to the ground.
Luai and Cleary combine
In the shadow of half-time it was the Panthers getting the upper hand when Sorensen took a pass from Isaah Yeo and raced 25 metres to score to make it 12-6.
Eight minutes into the second half both sides went a man down when Broncos prop Keenan Palasia and Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards were sent to the sin bin.
The Broncos had conceded a penalty for a flop before Edwards and Palasia had a difference of opinion and hit one another with an open hand slap to earn the ire of referee Adam Gee.
Staggs destructive yet again
With Koroisau running riot the Panthers started to pick the Broncos defence apart and winger Charlie Staines was the beneficiary of great lead-up work to cross in the 52nd minute.
Nathan Cleary then stamped his class on the game with a pinpoint cross field kick for Taylan May to gather and score the home side's fourth try for a 22-6 lead.
Liam Martin was the next to get his name on the scoreboard as the Panthers took complete control.
The Broncos continued to hang tough and they pulled one back when Reynolds laid on a try for Staggs with a well weighted kick but Spencer Leniu powered over from close range soon after to take the margin back to 22 points.
A penalty try to Tago when he was pushed in the back by Staggs rounded out the scoring for the Panthers.
Match: Panthers v Broncos
Round 6 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
- Nathan Cleary faces a nervous wait for the match review committee charges to be released on Sunday after he was placed on report with 14 minutes remaining for a hip drop tackle on Billy Walters.
- Broncos prop Corey Jensen started a game for just the sixth time in his 61-game career and was strong early with eight runs for 83 metres in his opening stint.
- Adam Reynolds produced a heads-up play in the 17th minute when he found touch with a line dropout to give Brisbane the scrum feed and ease the pressure on his side.
- Stephen Crichton has won all 19 games he has played at BlueBet Stadium.
- Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards continued his outstanding start to 2022, making 217 metres to take his season tally to 1449 metres at an average of 241 per game.
- Nathan Cleary produced his first 40-20 of the season with a booming kick in the 63rd minute.
Cleary on report for tackle on Walters
Play of the Game
Scott Sorensen is one of the unsung heroes of the Panthers side but he had his moment in the sun in the 36th minute when he bagged the third try of his 64-game career. Taking a pass from Isaah Yeo 25 metres out, Sorensen left Jordan Riki clutching at thin air and left the cover defence in his wake to give the premiers the lead at the break. Sorensen finished the night with a staggering 223 metres from 16 runs in 37 minutes of game time.
Sorensen tiptoes through the Broncos
What they Said
"This is a classic home ground, suburban ground. Our fans are very passionate and there's a lot of them at the moment. Our boys love playing here, always have. Each time we play at the moment, especially at home, it's a special occasion. Our community is really coming out and supporting the team."
- Panthers coach Ivan Cleary
"I'm OK with where we're at because there were some really good signs out there. I thought Adam [Reynolds] had his best game for the club. I thought he controlled the game really well when we could stay with them in the first half. His kicking was equal with Penrith's [Nathan Cleary] and his organisation and defence was good. There's better days ahead for the Broncos."
- Broncos coach Kevin Walters
The Panthers will look to make it seven wins on the trot when they host the Raiders at BlueBet Stadium.
The Broncos are at home against the Bulldogs in round seven and will welcome back Thomas Flegler and Payne Haas from suspension. Centre Herbie Farnworth (leg) should also be back on deck.