Broncos, Panthers suffer casualties - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos, Panthers suffer casualties

By Daniel Pace 03/09/2004 11:26:37 PM Comments (0)

The Panthers have nailed a home semi-final and a top four spot on the NRL table with a comprehensive 46-20 victory over a depleted Brisbane at Penrith Stadium on Friday night but both sides were left tending to their wounded troops.

Back-rower Joe Galuvao (shoulder) and fullback Rhys Wesser (corked thigh) are expected to miss the first qualifying final for the Panthers, probably against St George Illawarra, at the same ground next Friday night.

Galuvao's Kiwi teammate Tony Puletua (ankle) didn't play on Friday night but on the bright side, former Test centre Ryan Girdler made a successful comeback from an ankle injury suffered in round 19 while Amos Roberts (groin) and Frank Pritchard (shoulder) also returned from injuries.

In front of more than 20,000 people, the wounded Broncos were also counting their casualties after Brad Meyers (suspected fractured forearm) and Carl Webb (fractured eye socket) failed to finish the match.

Penrith captain Craig Gower needed four stitches to his chin after a head collision with Webb in the opening minute.

The Panthers' victory crushed the top four hopes of the Dragons, who have the bye this weekend, and Melbourne Storm, who tussle with Manly on Sunday.

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett, a critic of the NRL's gruelling 26-round regular season, said he was glad to see the finals series arrive for his team, likely to meet Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow week.

"If we went another two weeks we wouldn't have any players left - we lost another two tonight," said Bennett.

Panthers coach John Lang said: "Just when we seem to get everyone back, we seem to lose some more."

Galuvao, who may have hurt the AC joint in his shoulder, will undergo MRI scans on Monday while Wesser in is doubt for next week's clash at Penrith Stadium, where his team has won nine of its past 10 games.

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