Matt Moylan has again starred for the Penrith Panthers as the edged out Brisbane Broncos 35-34 in one of the best games in this season’s National Rugby League competition.
Moylan crossed for Penrith’s second try of the evening, ran for one-hundred and eighty metres that included one line break. His only blemish was failing to take an awkward kick from Justin Hodges that led to Corey Oates scoring and ended up leveling scores at thirty-four all. But all was forgiven with when Josh Maguire lost the ball from the kick restart after a wonderful hit by Adam Docker. Soward’s switch to Moylan for the field goal sealed Penrith’s eleventh win of the season, equaling last year’s mark with still eight matches remaining.
It was not your normal night at SportingBet Stadium. A healthy crowd of just over twelve-thousand were treated to nine minutes of Penrith domination to start proceedings. Back-to-back penalties saw the Panthers score first points when Elijah Taylor was the recipient of a tap back from Jamal Idris as he contested Soward’s cross-field kick with Dale Copley. Corey Parker kicked out on the full following the restart and it was Moylan as he weaved his way to the line in scoring.
Brisbane hit back soon after through Copley after Josh Hoffman was put in the clear in the lead-up to the try. In the sixteen minutes that ensued until Justin Hodges crossed to level scores, Penrith lost two key players. Josh Mansour came from the field when he suffered an ankle problem which ended his evening. Penrith appeared to be down to twelve men as Hodges crossed with Tyrone Peachey’s season all but over after tearing his pectoral muscle.
Jake Granville somewhat controversially gave Brisbane the lead as it appeared he lost ball in trying to score after it initially came into contact with Moylan’s leg. It looked like Moylan’s hand dislodged the ball as Granville tried to score. With two minutes before the break Ben Hunt looked to give the Broncos a seven point advantage but missed a field goal chance, one that proved costly in the end result.
With the Broncos dominating it appeared an uphill battle for the Panthers who were restricted to fifteen fit players on the half hour. A minute before the break the mountain men scored one of the tries of the season. Soward and Moylan combining for a long distance play that saw the ex-Dragon flick the ball back inside to Kevin Naiqama to score in the corner. Watch from one minute thirty in the video:
Soward’s sideline conversion meant both sides went into the sheds level at eighteen all. Penrith came out firing after the break and were first on the scoreboard through Dean Whare after a Soward bomb was taken by James Segeyaro ahead of Ben Barba. The ball went wide to Bryce Cartwright who provided Whare with the finish. Three minutes later Barba continued to have problems with another mistake following a kick. Moylan to be denied his second try after it was judged Taylor took out Todd Lowrie in the lead-up. It wouldn’t be too long before Naiqama scored his second following good lead-up work by Taylor, Moylan and Idris to create the overlap.
On the hour mark Penrith were cruising towards victory when Lewis Brown crossed for Penrith’s sixth try of the night. Soward on hand with another accurate cross field kick that was dropped by Daniel Vidot. Cartwright’s offload to Brown saw the Panthers go out to a sixteen point lead on the hour. Soward’s only miss of the night was probably one of his less difficult for the game.
It’s fair to say that Penrith in the final fourteen minutes of the contest battled fatigue. There was doubt that Docker was to return after a second head clash in as many weeks, but he would make the most important play of the night as the game clock approached full time.
Brisbane hit back with three tries. Jack Reed (66th minute) came of the back of consecutive penalties. Vidot won the approval of the video officials (70th minute) after James Segeyaro was denied at the other end of the field after taking a second movement in attempting to score. With two minutes to play Oates carried Soward over the line and the successful conversion by Parker saw both sides at thirty-four apiece.
One play after sixty-eight points and twelve tries in seventy-nine minutes of football decided the game. It was worthy of the two best on ground, Soward and Moylan to combine in setting up the winning field goal.
PENRITH PANTHERS 35 (Kevin Naiqama 2, Elijah Taylor, Matt Moylan, Dean Whare, Lewis Brown tries; Jamie Soward 5 goals; Matt Moylan field goal) defeated BRISBANE BRONCOS 34 (Dale Copley, Justin Hodges, Jake Granville, Jack Reed, Daniel Vidot, Corey Oates tries; Corey Parker 4 goals)
HOW DOES THIS WIN RATE?
This victory over the Broncos should be added to the club’s folklore alongside the 1991 and 2003 Grand Finals, and a famous first up victory against the mighty St George Dragons in their eleven year domination of the sport. Playing the modern game with fifteen players for fifty minutes, and a good ten minute period in that time with only fourteen fit players; it’s a hard task for any team to even imagine coming away with the win. Somehow this team managed to win. Soward and Moylan hammered the Broncos in attack, while the brave pack of Kite, Segeyaro, Taylor, McKendry, Docker and Manu guts it out in protecting the 2014 SportingBet Stadium record having only been defeated once on home soil. McKendry having by far his best game of the season. This game won’t silence the critics in the media because to them, its not right that Penrith are second on the ladder ahead of the more fancied latte sipping Rabbitohs and Roosters. Add to the fact the Queensland sides are going terrible and potential may not be represented in finals footy this year, something the media would be keen to see reversed.
It was a great night for the club with a healthy crowd and fantastic win. But sadly one of our good friends from down at Pantherland, Michael Gregson (also known as Shunter on Twitter), ended up in Nepean Hospital after an accident in participating as part of the half time entertainment. Another guy suffered a dislocated shoulder.
— Shunter (@Shunter86) July 14, 2014
Fox Sports have interviewed Gregson, read the full report here. The debate will rage on about compensation, etc. But we wish Shunter all the best in his long recovery that could see him out of action for up to twelve weeks.