Brisbane has celebrated Darius Boyd’s return by snatching an 8-5 NRL win over a depleted Penrith at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
All eyes may have been on Boyd on his return from a pre-season Achilles injury but the name on everyone’s lips at fulltime was Corey Oates.
Halfback Ben Hunt went from villain to hero in the dying seconds for Brisbane after setting up Oates for the match-winning try.
Hunt missed a 77th minute field goal attempt that would have locked scores up from dead in front and looked to have another shot two minutes later.
Instead Hunt chanced his arm, a gamble that paid off when Oates scored to bring the 24,566-strong crowd to their feet.
Panthers fullback Matt Moylan may have been playing with a broken hand and dislocated fingers but he still grasped an opportunity to snatch the result, kicking a 76th minute field goal that set up Penrith’s 5-4 lead.
Moylan racked up all of Penrith’s points, sinking penalties either side of halftime including a 56th minute kick that locked up the scores at 4-4 after a Josh McGuire high shot.
Brisbane had their chances before Hunt’s heroics – returning back-rower Alex Glenn was held up in the 65th minute and Jack Reed lost the ball over the line four minutes later.
The Broncos appeared to be sparked into action in the 60th minute when Panthers reserve Tyrone Peachey was placed on report for a lifting tackle on Adam Blair that almost sparked a melee.
The ladder leading Broncos have now won seven of their past eight games.
Penrith fought hard despite a long casualty list even after welcoming back Jamie Soward (back) and Elijah Taylor (knee).
Brisbane led 4-2 at halftime after Jordan Kahu broke the deadlock in the 36th minute when Hunt and Anthony Milford combined to send the winger over down the left sideline.