England star scores double as Penrith lose first game after World Club Challenge

The NRL fixtures continued thick and fast today following yesterday’s season opener, and today saw the champions Penrith Panthers kick off their title defence.

Penrith have defended their crown once already but are aiming to make it three in a row, which would go down as one of the most impressive feats in sports history, never mind NRL history.

Obviously the Panthers pre-season hasn’t been ideal with St Helens going into their backyard and claiming the World Club Challenge in a game that saw their star winger Taylan May go down with injury.

May was ruled out for the season off the back of that fixture but the Panthers are still a stacked squad and heavy favourites to win the title again.

Today they welcomed Brisbane Broncos to their home ground in a game that the Panthers were 1/5 betting favourites in.

Brisbane hadn’t even made the playoffs last year and had lost the previous four times the two teams had faced off, but today was different.

Penrith started well as Samoan World Cup hero Stephen Crichton crossed over within 10 minutes following a break on Brisbane’s left edge.

However, it was Brisbane’s edge where the points came from and it was England star Herbie Farnworth who scored the Broncos first try of the season.

Farnworth followed up his first try with another in a matter of minutes, scoring in the 16th and the 20th, leading the Broncos into the half with the lead.

It was reminiscent of his World Cup semi-final performance in which he also scored a brace, however this time he came out on the winning side.

The Broncos held on throughout the second half and Adam Reynolds drop goal 10 minutes from time made the game a two-score margin, something that the Panthers were unable to surmount despite a late Soni Luke try under the sticks.

Penrith will be sick of seeing the scoreline 13-12 following the World Club Challenge defeat.

This was a huge win for Brisbane and also shows the after effects that St Helens have left on Penrith potentially, the Panthers losing at home just twice all of last season.

It also highlights what a loss Farnworth will be to the Broncos in 2024 with the centre having signed a deal to cross the city to the new franchise Dolphins.

He’ll link up with Wayne Bennett at the Dolphins and becomes their first major money signing for the 2024 season.

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