Digital Image by Robb Cox ©nrlphotos.com: Sam McKendry :NYC Rugby League - Round 25, Manly Warringah Sea Eagles V Penrith Panthers at Brookvale Oval, Sunday August 31st 2014.

Panthers suffer heartbreaking loss to Manly

In controversial circumstances at Brookvale Oval, the Panthers have lost a drama-filled match to Manly, going down 26-25 in the dying minutes of the match.

With Kierran Moseley making his first grade debut at hooker, and Sam Anderson called up to replace Jeremy Latimore, Ivan Cleary’s men had to put a slightly different game plan into action today, and it looked like it may have paid off until the final moments of the game.

We got off to a flying start, winning back to back penalties in the first couple of minutes to get the ball up to our 10m line where Nigel Plum was handed the ball, and he barrelled towards the line and dragged a couple of defenders over to score his first try of the year! Soward converted from in front to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead.

We scored our second try 11 minutes in after a shoulder charge on Dallin Watene-Zelezniak gave us the ball inside the 20m line. After sending the ball across the field, a high pass from Will Smith bounced off the hands of Matt Moylan, back to Dean Whare and then onto Josh Mansour who sprinted to the line and dived over. Soward’s kick drifted left of the posts, so the score went to 10-0.

The Sea Eagles crossed for their first points of the match in the 16th minute after being awarded a penalty 30m out from their line. After running the ball up, Brett Stewart got a beautiful offload to Jamie Buhrer and he dived over the line. Jamie Lyon converted to take the score to 10-6.

A Manly mistake gave Penrith their next try after Jamal Idris intercepted a wayward pass by Lyon 15m out from our line, and steamrolled his way over to score. Soward converted from in front, extending the Panthers lead to 16-6 with 13 minutes until the half time break.

With 7 minutes until the half time break, Manly almost scored again but the video ref ruled obstruction when one of our boys was taken out of play, so Panthers took possession. The rest of the half was spent in the middle of the park, with numerous penalties against both teams, including one on Steve Matai for shoulder charging DWZ.

HALF TIME: 16-6 Panthers

Penrith came out firing after the break with Matt Moylan breaking through Manly’s defence in the first minute and sprinting 50m before being brought down. A cheeky grubber kick from Sowie landed beautifully in-goal but Josh Mansour couldn’t get his hands to it.

But it didn’t matter because a few minutes later Jamie Soward scooped up a loose Manly ball on our 20m line and took off down the field, sprinting the full 80m to score under the posts unopposed. He then converted his own try to take the score to 22-6.

In the 54th minute the home side scored their second try when Tom Symonds barged his way through our back line and got the ball down next to the uprights. Lyon’s kick took the score to 22-12.

A few minutes later Penrith was awarded a penalty 10m out and we took the kick for two, taking the score to 24-12.

With 17 minutes on the clock the Sea Eagles were in again after Brett Stewart broke through a tackle and took off down the field before passing to James Hassin, who sprinted in to score under the posts. Lyon converted to narrow the margin to 24-18.

With 8 minutes remaining the Panthers set Moylan up for a field goal from 20m out and keeping his cool, he booted it straight through the posts to put us 7 points clear.

A Panthers mistake 10m out from Manly’s line gave them their next try with 3 minutes remaining, after Jamie Lyon collected a pass on the sideline and dived over to score. But he missed the conversion, so the score went to 25-22.

In the final minute of the match, the home side scored again off the back of a contentious call and despite a protest from Penrith, the ref allowed the try. The kick missed, so the home side took the win.

FULL TIME: 26-25 Manly