Manly Sea Eagles 26
Tries: Tom Symonds 2, Jamie Buhrer, James Hasson, Jamie Lyon
Goals: Jamie Lyon 3
Field Goals: nil
Penrith Panthers 25
Tries: Nigel Plum, Josh Mansour, Jamal Idris, Jamie Soward
Goals: Jamie Soward 4
Field Goals: Matt Moylan
Jamie Lyon has gone from villain to hero as Manly pulled off the great escape in running down Penrith 26-25 at Brookvale Oval.
Matt Moylan’s field goal eight minutes from time looked like it was going to be enough to give the Panthers an upset victory as they led 25-18. Many of the 18,654 fans were considering an early exit to beat the rush out of the suburban ground. The tide turned with four minutes to play when Jamal Idris fell on the ball following a kick close to his line. Tom Symonds came in and effected a tackle that resulted in Idris losing possession. Shortly after Jamie Lyon scored out wide but his failed conversion saw the Sea Eagles trail by three with two and a half minutes remaining.
Kieran Foran made a break in the set following the kick off to give his side good field position on the last tackle. The ball went high and Manly retained possession. Jamie Lyon’s offload set up Symonds to score the match winner close to full time. Jamie Soward’s protests about the time clock to official Matt Cecchin was in vein as the Panthers went down in a gallant display.
Lyons’ efforts in the final five minutes made up for two intercept passes that led to Panther tries during the game. Lyons first intercept was after twenty-seven minutes which ended up in Jamal Idris having a clear passage to the line. Penrith leading 16-6 at the time. His second effort ended up in the hands of Jamie Soward who was too good for the Manly chasers to extend the lead to 22-6.
Manly got back into the game with twenty-five minutes to go through Tom Symonds off the back of some poor discipline by the visitors. Jamie Soward’s penalty conversion split back-to-back tries for the Sea Eagles as Brett Stewart put James Hasson over and the difference between both teams was reduced to six points with fifteen remaining. The Panthers running out of gas over the final stages as Manly produced quality football to send out retiring forward Jason King a winner in his last game at Brookvale.
Penrith can consider themselves extremely unlucky not to confirm their top four spot and will need to beat New Zealand Warriors in the final National Rugby League preliminary round match next Sunday at SportingBet Stadium. Nigel Plum was an unlikely scorer after five minutes and this was followed up by Josh Mansour’s effort that saw play go quickly out wide through Moylan and Dean Whare.
Very much like their last match against Melbourne, their execution at times let them down and they conceded a few too many penalties for Ivan Cleary’s liking. On the upside, debutante Kierran Moseley was lively out of dummy half and looks like an exciting prospect for the Panthers. Adam Docker may be suspended after being placed on report for the second time in as many weeks following a lifting tackle.
Manly suffered a season ending knee injury to Jamie Buhrer with ten minutes remaining. He was the first over for the Sea Eagles after seventeen minutes off with Foran providing the assist. Matt Ballin also struggled during the game with a leg injury.
The Sea Eagles will be disappointed with their execution of back line plays that gave Penrith way too many opportunities to post points. Melbourne, South Sydney and Sydney Roosters will punish them at finals time if they produce another inept performance for the majority of the game. A trip to North Queensland next weekend may confirm Manly’s first minor premiership since 1997. Steve Matai will come under scrutiny from the match review committee after a shoulder charge on Dallin Watene-Zelezniak close to half time.