Nathan Cleary creates history as Penrith beats gritty Brisbane

Sunia Turuva scores Penrith's opening try in the 15-4 NRL win over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.

Sunia Turuva scores Penrith's opening try in the 15-4 NRL win over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium. Photo: AAP

Nathan Cleary reigned supreme to become the youngest player to notch 1300 points in premiership history in Penrith’s 15-4 win over a resilient Brisbane outfit.

The victory took the defending premiers to the top of the table and on track to give themselves a red-hot crack at winning three titles in a row.

Panthers half Cleary controlled the game and scored a crucial second-half try when he dummied and went himself at Suncorp Stadium in front of 33, 343 fans.

That try took him to 1300 points.

Former Manly fullback Graham Eadie reached the mark at the age of 25 years and 246 days in 1979 while Cleary is 25 years and 185 days.

The Broncos were playing without injured captain Adam Reynolds and it was their last-tackle plays that let them down at times despite replacement Jock Madden having a solid match.

Cleary was the difference.

The Panthers are now on 16 points and equal with the Broncos and South Sydney, but with a superior for and against.

The Rabbitohs have the chance to take the outright lead when they host Parramatta on Friday night.

A bizarre moment occurred in the 63rd minute with the Broncos trailing 14-4.

Bunker official Ashley Klein cleared contact by Brisbane fullback Reece Walsh on Penrith centre Tyrone Peachey before what appeared to be a try to Kotoni Staggs from a bomb.

However, on-field referee Adam Gee, who had ruled no try on field, then said: “It doesn’t look right to me Ash.”

Klein looked at it again and ruled Walsh had illegally contacted Peachey. It was the right decision in the end but an unusual way to get to it.

The Broncos’ scrambling defence was on song in the first half with backs Jock Madden, Herbie Farnworth and Selwyn Cobbo making try savers.

The Panthers had three tries disallowed in the opening stanza. One was the result of a desperate tackle by Broncos second-rower Kurt Capewell on Moses Leota when he jolted the ball free when the Panthers prop was over the line.

The visitors led 8-0 at the break after No.6 Jarome Luai sent winger Sunia Turuva in.

A bellringer by Panthers centre Stephen Crichton on Broncos five-eighth Ezra Mam rocked the stadium.

It was typical of the relentless Panthers defence that shut the Broncos out.

Crichton did his chances of being retained by New South Wales for the State of Origin series no harm while fullback Dylan Edwards must be close to a Blues debut after another stunner.

Brisbane fullback Reece Walsh did plenty of brilliant things to keep himself in the frame for a Queensland debut.

Panthers prop James Fisher-Harris was put on report for a dangerous tackle on Staggs.


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