Penrith are in serious danger of missing the NRL Finals after they failed to fire in what was one of the season’s must crucial matches at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane won 24-12 after Penrith fumbled and bumbled their way to their 11th loss of the season.
The Panthers now drop to eighth spot on the competition ladder and could be out of the top eight if the Sharks beat St George-Illawarra on Sunday.
Brisbane took a two-point lead into half-time after Penrith somehow survived a first half in which they completed at under 50 per cent and failed to take advantage of the sin-binning of Brisbane halfback Jake Turpin.
Penrith had a mountain of possession during the second half and when down 18-12 with 20 minutes left appeared to be on top, but Brisbane played with an intent rarely season this season.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was disappointed with the performance.
“It wasn’t good enough,” he said.
“They just kept us at bay really. I was really confident at half-time but they got a try straight away… all of a sudden we were 18-6 down.”
Penrith face what is emerging as a do-or-die encounter with the Cowboys next week.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.