thriller at Penrith
TWO late tries to freakish fullback Rhys
Wesser helped Penrith snatch a heart-stopping win over
Manly in tonight's NRL match at Penrith Football Stadium.
Manly five-eighth Ben Walker had the chance after the
siren to win the match for the Sea Eagles after winger
Luke MacDougall had crossed in the left-hand corner with
34 seconds left on the clock.
But Walker hooked his shot about a metre left of the
posts, handing the Panthers their third straight win.
The Panthers looked down and out after squandering an
18-2 halftime lead before Wesser - the premiership's
leading tryscorer - and five-eighth Preston Campbell
combined to bring them back to life.
Trailing 24-18 with quarter of an hour left on the clock,
Penrith captain Craig Gower stood in a tackle long enough
to offload to Campbell.
The league's 2001 player of the year straightened and
produced a big step off his right foot to slice through
the defence and - to the home crowd's delight - find
Wesser free on his inside.
The fullback ambled 20 metres to score under the sticks.
Campbell's conversion locked the game up at 24-all before
Manly grabbed a one-point lead through a field goal to
halfback Jason Ferris in the 70th minute.
But Wesser, determined to have the final say before a
bumper crowd of 19,676 fans, beat four defenders in a
desperate 10 metre run to restore the Panthers' lead and
Campbell added the conversion to make it 30-25.
Walker's late miss from MacDougall's late try sealed the
win for Penrith, who have reached the top eight for the
first time since reaching the 2000 finals.
Solomon Haumono started the Manly revival after halftime
when he reeled in a kick from Walker to touch down in the
Walker slotted the conversion to reduce Penrith's lead to
18-8 before Albert Torrens, a late replacement for
injured centre Kevin McGuinness (back), squeezed his way
over in the right corner four minutes later.
Suddenly, the Panthers were in a contest.
The situation became desperate for Penrith in the 54th
minute when Ferris dummied and crashed over and Walker
levelled the scores with another conversion.
The Eagles grabbed the outright lead three minutes later
when winger John Hopoate pounced on a grubber kick into
the in-goal from hooker Chad Randall and Walker again
added the extras from out wide.
But Wesser's 11th and 12th tries of the year sealed the
deal for Penrith.
|PENRITH 30 (R
Wesser 2 J Galuvao L Lewis L Priddis tries P Campbell 5
MANLY 29 (S Haumono A
Torrens J Ferris J Hopoate L MacDougall tries B Walker 4
goals J Ferris field goal)
at Penrith Football Stadium.
Referee: S Hampstead.
Brendon Reeves, Scott Donald, Kevin McGuinness, Ben
MacDougall, John Hopoate, Ben Walker, Jason Ferris, Jason
King, Chad Randall, Nathan Long, Tony Jensen, Anthony
Watmough, Steve Menzies (c). Interchange: Aaron Cannings,
Solomon Haumono, Luke Williamson, Luke Dorn, Mark