Nathan Cleary has kicked the match-winning field goal as Penrith Panthers defeated Canberra Raiders 23-22 at GIO Stadium.
Penrith came out of the blocks charging thanks to a wealth of possession. Tyrone Peachey crossed out wide as the Panthers established an eight point lead within the first ten minutes. Once Canberra got some possession they were able to get down the other end and score through Nick Cotric. Jarrod Croker’s penalty goal close to half time meant both sides would head into the sheds at eight points apiece.
With momentum now in Canberra’s favour, they hit the lead through a bit of luck with the video ref awarding a try to Jordan Rapana. Elliott Whitehead playing on the right hand edge scored in the corner with nineteen minutes remaining to get stretch the lead to ten points. It was the Panthers who finished the stronger with Peachey in for his second with fifteen minutes to go. Dean Whare crossed for his first try of 2018 which was converted out wide by James Maloney to level scores at 22-all. A controversial knock-on call led to Nathan Cleary slotting over the winning field goal, maintaining their lead in the competition with their fourth straight win.
RICKY STUART FUMING AT LOSS
Ricky Stuart was visibly frustrated last night with what could be described as a ‘crazy game’ of footy. He kicked over his chair close to full-time, knowing his side was done for the night. In his post match presser, Stuart refused to acknowledge his side lost the game. It’s a costly loss which could see his side sit four points outside the eight.
Their run over the next month includes Wests Tigers (away), Brisbane Broncos (away) and Canterbury Bulldogs (away). Canberra’s season is definitely on the line. Jordan Rapana’s injury will be of concern as he hobbled off with a hamstring problem late in the game.
RAPANA TRY UNDER A CLOUD
Whilst there was great conjecture over the Raiders knock on leading up to the match-winner by Nathan Cleary, Panther fans were livid over the events leading up to Jordan Rapana’s try. It appeared on replay there was a play at the ball and knock on by Canberra in attempting to strip Tyrone Peachey, however, the decision ‘insufficient evidence’ to overturn. The ‘insufficient evidence’ baffled commentators when there were clear camera angles to suggest otherwise.
COMMITTED PANTHERS ORIGIN STARS SUPERB
South Sydney may have decided to rest their players, but Penrith’s four New South Wales players backed up as little as forty hours after their Origin win in Melbourne to star in the Panthers victory at GIO Stadium. Kudos has to go to James Maloney in the way he helped take the heat off Nathan Cleary, backing up for the first time after Origin. Reagan Campbell-Gillard made the most metres for the mountain men and Tyrone Peachey came back to haunt Canberra like he did in Bathurst last year, scoring a double.
CHARLIE GUBB BRAINSNAP
Charlie Gubb will come under the microscope of the Match Review Committee following his second half late tackle on Nathan Cleary. Cleary had just kicked the ball and was in mid-air when Gubb came in and chopped out his legs. This season it feels there’s been generally less protection for the kickers, but last night there were no excuses for the ex-Warrior. He won’t be the only player facing a charge, with Reagan Campbell-Gillard possibly in trouble over a high tackle at the back end of the game.
CANBERRA RAIDERS 22
Tries: Nick Cotric, Jordan Rapana, Elliott Whitehead
Goals: Jarrod Croker 5
Drop Goals: n/a
PENRITH PANTHERS 23
Tries: Tyrone Peachey 2, Dean Whare
Goals: James Maloney 5
Drop Goals: Nathan Cleary
Canberra Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Dunamis Lui, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Iosia Soliola, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Josh Papalii
Penrith Panthers: 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2 Christian Crichton, 3 Tyrone Peachey, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Tyrone Phillips, 6 James Maloney (c), 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Sione Katoa, 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Corey Harawira-Naera, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 James Fisher-Harris