The Brisbane Broncos have moved into a preliminary final against the Melbourne Strom at AAMI Park next week after a gripping 13-6 victory against the Penrith Panthers.
It took around sixty minutes for the Panthers to seem likely after the Broncos took the early lead yet their offensive failings came back to haunt them, as they were unable to convert their possession into points.
An early try from Corey Oates saw the Broncos go into half-time with a 6-0 lead, however the latter stages of the half saw the Panthers have the better of proceedings without being able to impact the scoreboard.
It seemed a night for head knocks, with Peter Wallace, Oates, Jai Arrow and Sam Thaiday all suffering injuries that required an HIA. The trio of Broncos players were deemed unfit to return yet Wallace was given permission to re-enter the fray.
With a solid completion rate and a weight of possession in the opposition attacking zone, the Panthers launched wave after wave at the Broncos in the second forty, before Regan Campbell-Gillard scored to draw the visitors within six points.
Further opportunities presented themselves yet the Broncos defence stood firm. With only one healthy body on the bench, the Broncos were brilliant in scrapping their way to victory in what was a physical contest that could have easily gone against them if the Panthers had shown more in attack.
A cleverly and professionally taken field goal from Jordan Kahu with minutes remaining iced the game and the Broncos will dust themselves off, check their injury status and prepare themselves for the Storm in Melbourne.
The Panthers will lament their inadequacies in attack and lick their wounds before reflecting on a great charge into the finals that, quite frankly, could have gone further.
All in all, a terrific contest where both teams had their chances and the professionalism of the Broncos against the youth of the Panthers potentially became the difference between the two teams.