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Penrith Panthers came back from the dead to defeat Brisbane Broncos in one of the best NRL grand finals ever witnessed.

The Broncos looked to have the win the bag as they raced into a 24-8 second-half lead, but the Panthers never know when they are beaten.

Inspired by Nathan Cleary, the Panthers came back to snatch a 26-24 victory and the 2023 NRL grand final will now go down as one of the greatest ever.

The Panthers will also go down as one of the greatest NRL teams as the victory means they have now won three grand finals on the bounce.

They can be backed at 3.75 to make it four in 2024 and it would take a brave man to back against them doing it.

Cleary wins it for Panthers

Winning an NRL grand final needs a team effort, but there is no doubt that Nathan Cleary was the inspiration and without him the Broncos would have won.

With just 20 minutes left on the clock and with the Broncos leading 24-8, the game looked over, especially as halves partner Jarome Luai was forced off injured.

But Cleary took the game by the scruff of the neck as the Panthers began to wrestle the momentum back.

With 10 minutes left on the clock they were just four points behind and it was left to Cleary to score the try and kick the conversion to win the game.

The performance has earned Cleary legendary status, but he is still young and is not done yet.

Edwards outshines Walsh

One of the key match-ups in the game was always going to be between the two fullbacks and it was the experienced Dylan Edwards that came out on top.

The Panthers star upstaged young gun Reece Walsh with an almost perfect performance.

Walsh may have chipped in with two line-breaks and a try assist, however he was more error-prone, with three mistakes and a number of defensive lapses.

Whereas Edwards was as solid and consistent as ever with 271 run metres, three tackle bursts, an offload, seven tackles and just the one miss.

Ivan Cleary up with the greats

Like his son Nathan, coach Ivan Cleary will now be mentioned in the same sentence as the very best in the game.

Wayne Bennett, Craig Bellamy and Trent Robinson have always been the main men, but after guiding the Panthers to the three-peat, Cleary is now up there with them.

There is talk of him being in the frame for the New South Wales State of Origin coaches job, but the Panthers will be doing all they can to keep hold of him.

Brisbane will learn and move on

It was heartbreak for the Broncos, but many comparisons have already been drawn with the defeat Penrith suffered in the 2020 grand final.

The Panthers have gone on to win the next three, and many already suggest this young, exciting Broncos side could go on and do the same.

Ezra Mam was the stand-out with a hat-trick of tries in the second half that would have won him the Clive Churchill Medal had it not been for Nathan Cleary.

But the future is certainly a bright one.

The Broncos can be backed at 4.50 to win to win the 2024 NRL grand final.

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