The Broncos will lose David Fifita to the Titans next year but coach Peter Gentle believes that boom back-rower Jordan Riki can step up next year and fill the breach.
The 20-year-old scored a cracking 40-metre try and made 35 tough tackles in Brisbane's improved 25-12 loss to the Panthers.
Gentle said Riki was "one hundred per cent" capable of taking Fifita's place after recovering from several injuries earlier in the season to now line up in the last four games for Brisbane after starring for the Maori All Stars earlier in the year.
"The club needs a back-rower and we have been grooming him. He moves well for a big boy and there's something to look forward to there," Gentle said.
"We have been pushing his time out and he had fifty minutes tonight and was still going good at the end of the game."
Jordan Riki will never forget this moment
Gentle changed the training schedule the past week, and in particular the systems in defence which had been previously employed by former coach Anthony Seibold.
"It seemed to work," Gentle said.
"It was more systematic stuff where we took a lot of the thought process away and relied on each other.
"Just the energy in defence, I thought there was a real commitment there. I just got told they had 42 play the balls inside our 20 and we had eight inside theirs so we showed a lot of resolve to turn them away, and two of their tries were off kicks. We are tracking in the right direction."
Match Highlights: Broncos v Panthers
Despite all the resolve the Broncos showed, with 14 losses for the season they now become the worst performed Brisbane team in history with the previous mark of 13 losses set in longer 24-game seasons in 2007, 2010 and 2013.
"People keep asking what they are playing for, and they are playing for their pride," Gentle said.
"Whatever has happened has happened, but we have got to get a result in the next three games."
Payne Haas made 61 tackles and 165 running metres in another phenomenal display and Gentle said "he was enormous for us, and he is every week".
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary said the Broncos took it to his side early but praised the way the competition leaders kept their composure.
"I was happy with the way we ground our way back in to it in the first half. In the second half we were on top for most of it but got a bit conservative," Cleary said.
"We were probably hoping they would roll over, but they didn't."