The first 20 minutes of this top 4 clash was a relative ploddathon of epic proportions for the neutral observer but those who sat through the initial “softening” period were rewarded with a game worthy of the plaudits it received.
The Roosters looked the more likely early on with Jarquard Warringah Half-face poking his head through the line with strong carries and early ball to outside backs SKD and RTS continuing the trend of triple word scores. The Panthers pack was up for a challenge however with Sam McKendry entering beast mode and Brent Kite providing adeqaute assistance until he has forced from the field for morphing into a cyclops.
The opening try to Unabomber Josh Mansour had Panthers fans engorged, but a quick reply to former mountain man Michael Jennings was equally deflating in the erectile sense. Completions were at a low for both teams and the coaches would have been relieved to get the in the sheds at the half-time break to insert a rocket inside of their players, literally. Shaun Kenny Dowall powered over for a 4 pointer shortly after the break, presumably aided by propulsion from the aforementioned explosive device. Once again a try was pegged back, this time to the Panthers Dean Vhhhhaaaray.
With scores locked at 12 a piece and an enthralling prospect being played out, there were a few players putting their skill sets on show. For the Panthers Jamal Idris was strong both in A and D and Siku Manu was a handful attracting multiple tacklers each run. For the Chooks, Sam Moa ran the ball with more sting than a pair of Bonds full of bees. Jackson Hastings in only his second game showed some classy touches and football nous. But one player would need to stand up and and Pearce the opponents defensive line. That man was Mitchell pierce. And he celebrated his try like he just won an Origin series (what he imagines that would be like anyway). He must have seen the lady in the yellow dress in the crowd though, as the scoreboard indicated there was 7 minutes remaining.
He wasn’t the only one who thought the game was sealed, but Mitchell didn’t count on a magical piece of cornerpost work from Panthers rookie Dragon Ball Z. The commentators were silent and if this was cricket the try may not have been given as even the appeal from the Panthers was more hopeful than confident.
Enter Jamie Soward, who is bound to be investigated by ASADA, as this man surely has ice cursing through his veins. His conversion was set up and taken quickly and never looked like missing. You know what happens next; a fumble from Michael Jennings (sweet irony) and subsequent Soward field goal and suddenly Gus Gould’s biggest problem is the construction of the #panthwagon.
Panthers 19 d Roosters 18