Penrith won their 16th match of the season after surviving a late scare to down Brisbane 18-12 at Suncorp Stadium.
The Panthers were far from their best and worryingly missed a season-high 66 tackles in a sloppy performance.
But Ivan Cleary won’t be hitting the panic button just yet.
The Panthers were without key players Nathan Cleary and Api Koroisau, while Isaah Yeo was forced from the field in the opening minutes after suffering a serious concussion.
Defence was the story of the first half with neither side crossing the line – a Stephen Crichton penalty goal and a Dylan Edwards long-range field goal giving the Panthers a 4-0 advantage at the break.
The Panthers won the game thanks to a dominant 11 minute period early in the second half when Brian To’o, Stephen Crichton and Charlie Staines all bagged tries to take the home side out to an 18-0 lead.
Brisbane bagged two late tries to put a scare through the Penrith camp, but couldn’t find a late try to level the game.
“They didn’t stop coming,” Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said after the match.
“Credit to the Broncos. They kept hanging in there and asked us plenty of questions. We lost our way and missed way too many tackles.”
Cleary said he believed his side lacked patience through the contest.
“We got a bit sloppy,” he said.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.