Brisbane v Penrith player ratings
BRISBANE crushed a spirited Penrith side to walk into week three of finals despite losing three players to injury during the 13-6 win at Suncorp Stadium.
And it was a few exiting Broncos players who starred for the home side, who now go down to Melbourne next week.
Penrith, meanwhile, had nothing to lose but were unable to put the frighteners up a vulnerable Brisbane side, bowing out in the second week of finals.
While one forward left his mark on the contest with a massive performance, the side's X-factor backline players weren't able to lift them into the next week.
Here's who starred and who struggled, in our player ratings.
Still some nervous moments at the back and with ball in hand, but nothing wrong with the wheels that put him on the outside of Bryce Cartwright and sent James Roberts on his way. Or his balls to the wall take off a Cleary chip late in the piece. Gutsy stuff from a makeshift fullback.
2. Corey Oates (5)
Powered through for the first try and started superbly. Unfortunately he won't remember a thing after coming off second best in a sickening collision with Anthony Milford, who stands 16 centimetres shorter and 14 kilos skinnier.
3. James Roberts (6)
Quiet as a church mouse in the first 40. Roared into life to start the second with pure pace, but barely sighted thereafter again. Sound in defence.
4. Tautau Moga (8)
Came up with some classic defensive reads and needed to with Penrith hammering his left edge channel. He's always been a handful with the ball but this was his finest effort without it.
5. Jordan Kahu (7)
Didn't see much action but was there when Brisbane needed him most, as always. Slotted the 71st-minute field goal and had them covered at the crucial moments.
6. Anthony Milford (6)
Threatened early with that famous footwork but that was as dangerous as he got throughout. Still short of his best but muscled up in defence late, no small feat with a shoulder Wayne Bennett says is hanging by a thread.
7. Benji Marshall (5.5)
More rocks than diamonds both with ball in hand and off the boot and conceded two penalties. But his experience did show late when the Broncos were hanging on for dear life with a couple of smart kicks.
8. Sam Thaiday (4)
Overshadowed by the other three in Brisbane's prop rotation and done all ends up by Reagan Campbell-Gillard - the second time in as many weeks a defensive lapse has led to a try. Knocked out of the game late in another brutal collision.
9. Ben Hunt (8)
Set up the first try running wide and produced some handy kicks from dummy-half throughout. Gave a tremendous account of himself despite being targeted in defence too - for a regular No. 7 to get through 35 tackles and barely miss a beat was special stuff from the Dragons' 2018 recruit.
10. Adam Blair (8)
The Teddy Blair has been put back on the shelf. Started with a big shot in the first 90 seconds and maintained the rage whenever he was out there, particularly when Brisbane were battling. The kind of performance you'd expect of the Kiwi skipper with a $600k price tag.
11. Alex Glenn (8.5)
Had some fun up against Penrith's shaky right edge early and never let up. His 148 running metres were the most of any Bronco and he matched his teammates efforts defending the line.
12. Matt Gillett (9)
Don't let the seven missed tackles fool you, Gillett held the maroon and gold line together as much as any. Stopped Isaah Yeo when he was tryline-bound in the first half and shut down countless Panthers throughout the second. Big game from a big game player.
13. Josh McGuire (8)
Their true forward leader with 72 minutes of pure grunt. Held the middle with aplomb and finished with 32 tackles and 16 runs for 133 metres.
14. David Mead (7)
Took over the left flank when Oates went down and produced some clutch takes under the high ball.
Wallace stunned by falconWallace stunned by falcon0:51
15. Jai Arrow (1)
Only managed five minutes before putting on the wobbly boot and ending the night with concussion. Rough night.
16. Joe Ofahengaue (7)
Shored up the middle and landed a few shots too. Got an extra crack when Thaiday came off and is making a strong case for a run-on start
17. Herman Ese'ese (7.5)
Got through plenty of defensive work in the middle to lead the tackle count by halftime. Real handful carting it up after the break too. Developing into a fine front-rower.
1. Dylan Edwards (7)
Beautiful take when tested by an early Benji bomb and looked assured bringing the ball back throughout. Showed he's made of the right stuff with some team-lifting efforts in the second half.
2. Josh Mansour (8)
Was at his active best sniffing around the ruck in attack and was always dangerous on kick returns. Never quite broke the game open but ran for 195 metres and was often the man to get his side on the front foot.
3. Tyrone Peachey (6)
Wasn't quite on his game when they needed one of their X-factor backs to change the momentum in the second half. Pretty good battle with James Roberts though.
4. Dean Whare (4)
Threw a shocking pass to DWZ, who couldn't handle it, in one of the second half's pivotal moments. From the resulting turnover James Roberts scored. Redeemed himself to an extent with a huge step on Anthony Milford to make a break the play before Penrith's first try.
5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (6)
Beaten by Corey Oates on an outside-inside line for the first try of the game. Strong on carries in his own half but never quite got into the game.
6. Tyrone May (5)
Didn't quite see out the first half before an awkward knock bent his knee inward and he wasn't able to come back.
7. Nathan Cleary (6)
Not quite up to his usual standards with his attacking kicks in the first half. Schemed cleverly to create some chances on the edges but nothing came off. To be fair to him, few sides have defended him as well as the Broncos did.
8. James Tamou (5)
Did most of his best work in defence when the Broncos charged out of the blocks early. Well and truly outshone by his mate RCG.
9. Peter Wallace (6)
One of the toughest men in the game, he was forced off for a HIA after copping a close-range falcon but returned and gave it everything. Wasn't his night.
10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard (9)
Give him a World Cup jersey! Reputation continues to grow with another outstanding performance. Some fierce charges and went within inches of a first half try, as he bent back three Broncos before getting his side back into it with a skilful second half effort. The best forward on the park.
11. Corey Harawira-Naera (6)
As usual he was a dangerous runner on the edges but the Broncos shut him down well. Strong in defence for the most part, save for one bad miss on Alex Glenn which sparked a Broncos attack.
12. Isaah Yeo (7)
A tireless worker and he put his hand up for plenty of repeat efforts again in this one.
13. Trent Merrin (6.5)
After an ordinary first final, Merrin hit back well to get his offload game going as the Panthers searched for second half points. Couldn't quite find the magic needed to bust the Broncos.
14. Sione Katoa (6)
Outstanding in the early minutes after he came on for the dazed Wallace but in the end he only got 15 minutes of game time and wasn't able to swing the game for his side.
15. Bryce Cartwright (3)
It was a breakout final for him last week but he didn't get near matching it this time around. The Broncos were all over him like a rash and the rash chip and chase he attempted cost his side momentum just as they were threatening to finish over the top of the Broncos.
16. Moses Leota (4)
Only got 20 minutes and got himself involved without really making an impact.
17. James Fisher-Harris (6.5)
The best of the bench forwards, the young Kiwi ripped in with 13 runs that yielded almost 100 metres. Made his 16 tackles as well.