Penrith in huge NRL scare against Broncos

·3-min read

A Nathan Cleary two-point field goal has helped Penrith stage a great escape after Brisbane came within six minutes of an incredible NRL upset.

Just when Penrith looked spent, Cleary calmly drilled a 42-metre drop goal to break a 12-12 deadlock in the 74th minute before he sealed the 20-12 win with a try three minutes later.

Brisbane had won two of their past 23 games while Penrith, not including the grand final, had won their last 22.

"That was one of the best 80-minute performances I've seen them (Brisbane) play for a long time and we had to reach pretty deep into our kit bag to get that one done," coach Ivan Cleary said.

"The field goal was a big play ... he's (son Nathan) getting better, the game's slowing down for him a bit in those big moments.

"Not only can he see what to do he's got the execution part right too."

The Broncos had drifted to a historic $14 to win with some bookies ahead of the Suncorp Stadium game.

Coach Kevin Walters laughed that off on Wednesday but delivering a rousing pre-game address after dropping Anthony Milford for the first time in the playmaker's career.

And they responded accordingly, earning a standing ovation from their rusted-on fans as they went to the sheds up 12-10.

It was a simple plan executed with vigour, shutting down strike weapon Viliame Kikau with a rushing defence as Matt Lodge and Payne Haas churned through the middle and Brodie Croft kicked for his taller wingers.

They benefited from a rare Brian To'o blunder, Tevita Pangai Jnr swooping on the spilled ball then elegantly diving over in the corner.

Ethan Bullemor then latched onto a short inside pass from Croft, speeding past the fullback to put Brisbane ahead.

Recalled winger Corey Oates made an impact at both ends, producing two try-saving tackles in one set of six and running strongly out of defence.

But for all their gusto elsewhere, their flimsy edge was again exposed, first by Kurt Capewell then Matt Burton on either side of the park.

Criticised for an on-field arrogance in their defeat of Canberra last week, players cheekily celebrated Burton's try with civil handshakes.

It was expected they would run away with things in the second half but Penrith could only manage a penalty as the hosts edged closer to victory.

That was until Cleary managed what Brisbane fullback Jamayne Isaako had failed to do in the previous set, the two-pointer the second this season since it's controversial introduction.

"We had a crack, but I'm actually disappointed more than anything," Walters said.

"We were in it - execute a few things better we win the game - but we didn't

'This club's about winning ... I want to win, that's what we want to do and our effort was great and we had our chances to win, but we didn't."