WIGAN’S hopes of World Club Series glory were cruelly dashed by a Corey Parker golden-point penalty.
In a dramatic finish to a thrilling game, the Warriors had sent the game into extra-time with a sensational late Joe Burgess try.
But referee Phil Bentham punished the home side for a ball-steal - and Parker was handed the formalities of kicking the goal.
Even then, it wasn’t an end to the excitement as Anthony Gelling charged down his first strike - resulting in a yellow-card - before Parker booted another penalty to ensure the result.
It was a cruel end to a pulsating game between two determined heavyweights of the game.
The Warriors - roared on by a vocal crowd of 20,842 - battled to claw their way back into the game in am exciting finish following Lachlan Maranta’s second-half try.
Trailing 12-6, they chipped away at the Broncos but it appeared they didn’t have enough firepower to breakdown the Australian side’s rigid defence - until Burgess made amends for earlier mistakes by breaking from deep and scorching down field to score.
The score had been locked 6-6 at the interval with each side managing a solitary try in an error-littered half.
Gary Connolly and Shaun Edwards - legends of the ‘94 victory in Brisbane - were among those who formed a guard of honour as the players entered the pitch.
The early exchanges were typically fierce, and it was Brisbane who nosed ahead when Burgess spilled the ball under heavy traffic close to his line, and hooker Andrew McCullough was on hand to pounce.
Wigan worked their way into the game but their execution - on an awful pitch - never quite matched their enterprising approach. George Williams showed some fine touches, particularly with the boot, while Taulima Tautai and Tony Clubb both impressed from the bench.
Eventually they rewarded for their efforts when Liam Farrell latched onto Williams’ probing kick through, and grounded the ball. Smith converted to lock the scores.
Tempers flared throughout the game, which was played with enough intensity to satisfy the cynics of the expanded World Club Series.
The result means Wigan have now lost their last three games against NRL opposition in four years - added to the losses to St George Illawarra and Sydney Roosters in World Club Challenge encounters.
And with Warrington losing 18-12 to the Dragons 24 hours earlier, it meant the NRL secured the bragging rights of winning the three-game series - ahead of the Sunday night showdown between St Helens and Michael Maguire’s Souths.