A Nathan Cleary two-point field goal has helped Penrith escape with a 20-12 win over Brisbane Broncos.
The languishing Broncos were expected to be no match for the unbeaten Panthers, but came within six minutes of an incredible NRL upset.
But with his team on the ropes, Cleary drilled a 42-metre drop goal to break a 12-12 deadlock, before sealing victory with a late try to put the Panthers four points clear atop the NRL ladder.
The Broncos stormed out of the gates, as powerhouse forwards Payne Haas and Matt Lodge constantly dented the Panthers defensive line.
But the Panther struck first, with Kurt Capewell brushing through tackles for the game's opening try.
Tevita Pangai Junior then latched on to a tapped-down bomb for the Broncos' first try, before the Panthers replied through Matt Burton.
Ethan Bullemor cut a hole through the middle of the Panthers defence to send his side into the sheds with a 12-10 lead.
The two sides continued a back-and-forth arm wrestle through the second half, until Cleary stepped up to nail the decisive drop goal just moments, after Jamayne Isaako's long-range attempt fell well short for Brisbane.
The Origin star then capitalised on a jinking run from fellow half Jarome Luai to clinch the Panthers' sixth win in six weeks.
The Broncos remain 13th, with just one win from their six games this season.
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