The Penrith Panthers NYC team has had a gut wrenching finish to the season with an 18-18 draw against the New Zealand Warriors, which nudges them out of the top 8 and ends their finals hopes.
It came down to the dying seconds of the match where Penrith had an 18-12 lead until the Warriors scored right at the death, and halfback Mason Lino converted from the sideline to even the score and finish the Panthers season.
Despite the loss, our boys put in a gutsy performance and can be proud of the season they’ve had.
Here’s how tonight’s game unfolded.
It was 20 minutes before the first try was scored and it was the Panthers who drew first blood, when Josh Tangitau threw a beautiful pass to Chris Smith who charged at our line and dived over to score. With the conversion, Penrith took a 6-0 lead.
But the Warriors hit back soon after when Tuimoala Lolohea found a hole in our defence and took off down the field, sprinting 60m before diving in under the posts. The kick then levelled the score at 6-6.
The tight battle for the final top 8 spot continued for the rest of the half with some good defensive work from both teams, resulting in the score remaining 6-6 at half time.
Warriors were first on the board in the second half when centre Ken Maumalo got on the end of a break and scored underneath the posts. Mason Lino converted the try and the score moved to 12-6.
In the 55th minute, the Warriors were awarded an offside penalty adjacent to the posts and decided to take the penalty conversion. The kick from Lino bounced off the post and the score remained 12-6.
A wonderful set move from the Panthers saw Tyrone May score off a short ball from halfback Soni Luke. Jarrod Brackenhofer made no mistake with the conversion and the scores remained level at 12 all.
Penrith hit the lead again in the 67th minute when Josh Jay finished off a nice backline movement by sprinting to the corner and diving over before going into touch. Brackenhofer converted from the sideline, moving the score to 18-12.
After attacking the Panthers line for a number of sets, the Warriors finally crossed the line right on the fulltime siren through their winger Metia Lisati who scored in the corner. Lino converted the pressure kick from the sideline to even the scores at 18-18.
With no time remaining on the clock, the game ended in a draw and the Warriors earned themselves a top 8 spot. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the draw was not enough to see them move on into the finals and their season has finished. Their efforts throughout the year cannot be questioned and they have all done themselves and the club proud.
FULLTIME: 18-18 Warriors win