Penrith Panthers have been topped the 2023 NRL premiers after an exciting 26-24 victory over the Broncos, with Nathan Cleary snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with an all-time grand ultimate efficiency within the final quarter-hour.
The Panthers had been out to an 8-0 lead after half an hour attributable to a horror error from a brief drop out by the Broncos.
Nonetheless, a attempt at half-time to Tom Flegler gave Brisbane momentum heading into the break.
Ezra Mam’s second half hat-trick then blew the sport large open to place his facet forward 24-8.
The Panthers weren’t finished although, with Moses Leota and Stephen Crichton scoring to maintain their facet alive at 24-20 with 10 minutes remaining. Cleary threw the ultimate go for each tries, slicing the Broncos’ line of defense open with a game-turning line break to arrange Leota’s. He additionally kicked a 40/20 in that interval, decisively snatching the momentum for his crew and including a second Clive Churchill Medal to his glistening CV.
Cleary struck the dagger blow with three minutes remaining, bringing Panthers supporters to their ft by slicing up the Broncos defence and scoring the winner.
“Thanks a lot to everybody who turned out. It truthfully would not really feel actual proper now, I can not await it to set in,” Cleary mentioned post-game.
“To the Broncos boys, you are a completely beast crew. You are very younger.
“Shout-out to Ezra Mam, as nicely, you are a freak.
“Thanks for that recreation. It was the toughest recreation I’ve ever performed.
“To our boys, nothing however love, we have labored so arduous for this, and we’re nonetheless simply getting began.”
A relieved Ivan Cleary admitted to being concerned when the Broncos had been up 24-8.
“I’ve by no means felt so below the pump as I’ve in a recreation for ages as had been in that second half,” he mentioned.
“The Broncos in all probability had the higher of at the very least the center a part of the sport and possibly deserved to be in that lead, however I suppose over the course of the previous couple of years we have received sufficient video games and if we had some perception that we may some momentum going and get our recreation on, then good issues can occur.”
For the Broncos, coach Kevin Walters lower a dejected determine in his press convention, describing his facet’s dressing room as “very quiet”.
“No emotion in there, very quiet, simply arduous to get your head round what really occurred, I really feel for all of the gamers in there they gave a lot, it simply wasn’t sufficient ultimately,” he mentioned.