Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
Brisbane celebrated the successful return of skipper Darren Lockyer with 48-12 NRL first round romp over Penrith at Suncorp Stadium.
Lockyer, who surprisingly made his comeback from a knee reconstruction starting off the bench for the first time in his 275-game career, scored a try, kicked a 40-20 and found his magical passing game in his 60-minute performance.
He received a huge roar from the 31,250 Suncorp Stadium faithful when he joined the game after 20 minutes.
Brisbane, looking more mobile in the forwards, may also have found a long-term halfback with former Penrith utility Peter Wallace making an impressive debut and helping set up Brisbane's first two tries.
The news though wasn't all good for the Broncos with new prop Joel Clinton facing a month or more on the sidelines after suffering medial ligament damage to his left knee in the first half.
An 85-metre intercept try to winger Darius Boyd just before half time proved the knockout blow to Penrith who had been attacking the Broncos line.
It wasn't a great day for Petero Civoniceva who led Penrith out against his old club.
After being upended in the very first tackle by rival prop Ben Hannant he bounced back to be one of Penrith's best on a tough afternoon.
Brisbane second-rower Corey Parker, who was outstanding in defence, contributed 24 points with a try and 10 goals from 10 attempts, breaking the previous club kicking record shared by Lockyer and Michael De Vere.
Penrith's points came from tries to Nathan Smith and Joe Williams who also kicked two goals.