It wasn't pretty but the Broncos have made it over the line. A 19-12 win over the Panthers at Suncorp Stadium is enough to get them into the post-season (providing the Wests Tigers don't beat the Storm by a cricket score) and they will wait to find out their opponent next week. It will be a road trip to either Manly, North Queensland or the Sharks.
The match didn't aspire to any great heights and Brisbane will have to make significant improvements to survive past week one of the finals. They trailed 6-0 at halftime and looked listless but put on three in the second half to get some very important attacking momentum going into a sudden-death final. A Peter Wallace field goal sealed it with a kiss and Petero Civoniceva can keep the kava on ice for one more week at least.
FULLTIME Broncos 19 Panthers 12.
78th min And that's a done deal. Wallace kicks the field goal. Brisbane are going to win 19-12 and Petero is going to lace them up again next week after all.
77th min Wallace is good with the conversion and Brisbane need to hold onto an 18-12 lead with three minutes on the clock to ensure they get to the finals. Penrith drop it and give it right back to the Broncos, which won't help.
75th min Brad Tighe taken from the field after coming up third or fourth best following an attempt to bring down Dale Copley. Brisbane get a repeat set and there's the TRY that gets them in the finals you'd think. Alex Glenn races over off a delicious ball from Corey Norman. It's 16-12 with a kick to come and just three minutes on the clock.
75th min Ben Te'o makes the break but his attempt at draw and pass is dire! Goes a mile forward and it all comes undone. To be fair, at least he had a go at passing. For a while last season he butchered his fair share by not passing at all. Now he has a complete game.
70th min Lachlan Coote likes his chances here... he's claimed the TRY for the Panthers. He's come up with the Walsh kick right next to the posts and it's 12-all with 10 minutes on the clock. Knife-edge finish on the way.
67th min So near, so far. Tim Grant makes a big run off the tap, beats a few tackles and then manages to push the pass and turn it over. It's only soothed by the fact Brisbane now lose it on their second tackle. I'm not sure Manly or the Cowboys are shuddering at the moment if they are watching. Broncos 12 Panthers 6.
65th min Coote got them up there with a kick but his second one isn't one to remember. Brisbane short on the left, Coote bolts that way but puts a heavy grubber through instead of firing it wide. Rolls dead. Poor play and Brisbane now threatening at the other end.
62nd min That's made things interesting. Coote comes up with a 40-20 to give his side a bit of a crack here. Now they win another penalty. Pressure back on Brisbane - good showing from the Panthers to keep in the contest. They trail 12-6.
59th min Penrith get the penalty after a couple more comedic bits of play. They needed it badly but can't come up with much of a play. A hasty bomb goes up, Brisbane look after it with relative ease and the teams trade a few midfield sets. Broncos 12 Penrith 6.
53rd min Wallace converts this time. No Parker on the field at the moment so Wallace and Norman sharing kicking duties. Brisbane lead 12-6. Very hard to see Penrith having the drive to get back into this game.
51st min Things starting to roll Brisbane's way now. Big run from Copley to return the kick and now they win a penalty to set themselves up nicely in attack. No finals for Penrith - let's see how much motivation they have to defend. Not much as it turns out. Ben Te'o just STROLLS through and it's a TRY to Brisbane under the sticks. Very, very simple. Broncos 10 Penrith 6 with a kick on the way.
45th min TRY to Brisbane. Peter Wallace starts it and finishes it with a powerful run from Justin Hodges in the middle of that sandwich. Wallace looked dusty after he crossed the line, just avoiding a big shoulder from Gordon, but is up and about as Corey Norman converts. It's 6-6.
41st min Whoa. Josh McGuire drops it cold from the kick-off. Panthers get a fresh set on the Broncos line. Maybe McGuire read the whiteboard incorrectly at halftime? He gets out of jail as Penrith put through a half-hearted grubber, which is in keeping with much of the first half.
HALFTIME Penrith 6 Brisbane 0.
39th min Maybe a try for the Panthers as they finish right over the top of the Broncos. Mitch Achurch flew onto the ball and crashed over under the posts but it looks like Matt Gillett has held him up. This will be no try and the score remains 6-0 to Penrith.
37th min Well played Penrith. They hold on as Corey Norman tries to half pass, half kick and ends up getting fully belted. Wallace tries to salvage something with the grubber but it's easily claimed and Penrith take the football right back up the other end. They lead 6-0.
35th min That's a very lucky break for Brisbane. Their attacking set right on the Penrith line was literally going backwards and around in circles before Hodges dropped it and Penrith knocked it on as they dived on the loose ball. Brisbane get a very fortunate set and have to make this count before the half.
30th min TRY to the Panthers! And a hell of a try it was. Josh Mansour gets there in the end but it went through seven or eight sets of hands. Gordon carved up Brisbane with the initial break following a superb ball from Tim Grant. That was the key pass and they went on from there to blow this one open after a dire first 29 minutes. Kick from Walsh is good and the Panthers lead 6-0. Broncos need to look interested - their season is on the line.
24th min Michael Gordon gets the Panthers out of danger with a great break and Penrith find themselves right on the attack. But the Panthers offer up a weak knock-on to gift Brisbane the ball. Both sides have had their chances now and neither good enough to make anything stick. Scoreboard attendants still playing chess and finishing the crossword.
19th min This game not exactly scaling great heights. Anthony Griffin said this week he felt like if Brisbane snuck into the finals, they could be a force in the finals. On this evidence, they'll need some sort of improvement. Penrith don't have their heads in this either. They're defending on their line again and surely the Broncos can get over. If they were in better form, they'd have a try or two already. They get a scrum feed and another crack. No score just yet.
12th min Justin Hodges shaking off a big hit from Panthers winger Josh Mansour, who is a big, big fella himself. Went in for the shot on the Broncos centre and they clashed heads. Hodges is ok, if dazed. Mansour now has a bit of bandage on his chin that looks like a shaving cut. No score, willing stuff, if scrappy. Josh Hoffman pinged for a knock-on there and that call is plain awful. Boy of boy.
8th min Brisbane liking the looks of things on the left and have shifted quick ball in that direction a number of times. The Panthers up to it for the moment but are losing the territory battle. Brisbane looking the more alive and enthused, which is no surprise given what they have to play for tonight.
4th min Dry and cool tonight and both sides eager to spin it around a little at the start. A few errors from both teams but it's open and fast. Penrith defend well there to halt the attacking kick and race it back for the tap. No score but it's breakneck pace.
1st min The players observe a minute's silence to commemorate the five soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan, three of whom were from Brisbane's Gallipoli Barracks. On that sombre note, Brisbane kick off and get this one underway.
7.15pm Good evening folks. You couldn't ask for a better night in Brisbane as Suncorp Stadium farewells Petero Civoniceva, who makes his final appearance at his home ground. That's incentive enough but the bigger picture puts the season squarely on the line for Brisbane. The Panthers are in form but out of the finals. If they beat the Broncos tonight, Brisbane must hope the Storm roll the Tigers on Sunday to ensure they make the post-season. If Brisbane triumph, they're in the hunt - it's that simple.