The NYC Panthers have extended their unbeaten streak to 15 games with a 24-16 victory over Parramatta Eels at Pepper Stadium on Sunday.
The Eels opened the scoring in the 11th minute with fullback Mason Cerruto joining the line and breaking the attempted tackle of Braidon Burns. Mick Doolan slotted the conversion from out wide for a 6-0 lead.
The Panthers hit back as winger Ratu Tuisese, in his return from injury, powered his way over from close range in the 23rd minute. Jarome Luai couldn’t convert and the score remained 6-4.
The home side took the lead as Tyrone May, another young gun back from injury, broke the line in the 30th minute and sent Jack Hetherington over to score. Luai slotted the conversion to make it 10-6.
Hetherington had a double in quick time as he popped up four minutes later to charge down the right touchline and bump off Cerruto to score. This time Luai was off-target with his conversion attempt to leave the scoreboard at 14-6.
The Panthers looked like they had pulled off a spectacular try to Wayde Egan as the break approached but the referee found an obstruction in the lead-up play.
HALFTIME – Panthers 14-6
The Eels flew out of the blocks in the second half as a Panthers error gave them attacking possession and Cerruto grabbed his second try. The conversion was successful to reduce the Panthers lead to just two points.
Parramatta continued to pile on the pressure and in the 56th minute Cerruto found himself in space to crash over the line for his third try. This time the conversion attempt was waved away and the score remained 16-14.
The Panthers looked like they were letting the game slip away before Luai showed some fancy feet to break clear and offload for Reed Izzard to score between the posts in the 63rd minute. Luai backed it up with a conversion for a 20-16 lead.
On the end of a looping Luai cut-out pass, Tuisese was able to simply stroll over for his second try with 10 minutes left in the contest. Luai failed to convert, leaving the score 24-16.
FULLTIME – Panthers 24-16