The NYC Panthers have returned to their winning ways with a stylish 40-22 victory over the Roosters at Pepper Stadium on Monday.
A simple cut-out pass put Braidon Burns outside his defender and he strolled through for the opening try in the 5th minute. Jarome Luai slotted the conversion from out wide and the Panthers took a 6-0 lead.
Great vision from Panthers hooker Wayde Egan in the 12th minute saw him scoot out of dummy half and bury his way over the tryline. Luai knocked the coversion over for a 12-0 lead.
The Roosters hit back as prop Ben Thomas brushed off would-be tacklers on a charge to score in the 19th minute. The conversion from Jackson Hastings made the score 12-6. To make matters worse for the Panthers, playmaker Tyrone May picked up a leg injury attempting to save the try and was out for the game.
Roosters fullback Kiah Cooper was put through a yawning gap to score in the 27th minute. Hastings couldn’t convert, leaving the score 12-10.
With seven minutes until halftime some offloads and fancy footwork saw the Panthers break down the right flank. Jake Ennis was nailed by Cooper but from the next phase, the ball was sent to the left wing and Caleb Aekins burrowed over. Luai’s lovely conversion from the sideline make the score 18-10.
As the halftime siren sounded, the Panthers were awarded a penalty on the right touchline. Luai stepped up and expertly slotted it to extend the home side’s lead.
HALFTIME – Panthers 20-10
Panthers custodian Daniel Brown got the second half off to the perfect start with a try in the 44th minute on the back of an incisive break from Egan. Luai nailed another conversion from out wide to make it 26-10.
Luai added another try to his highlights reel six minutes later as he beat the attempted tackle of Hastings, before jinking past another defender and over the tryline. The post cruelly denied his attempted conversion though, leaving the score at 30-10.
The Roosters kept themselves in the game with a try to winger Bernard Lewis in the 55th minute. Hastings was on target with the conversion to make it 30-16.
However the contest was effectively over when Panthers centre Christian Crichton swooped on a beautifully-weighted Luai grubber with 19 minutes left in the contest to score. Another conversion from Luai and the score was 36-16.
The Roosters thought they had the final say as centre Jarred Anderson dived over in the closing moments of the game, but in fact it was Aekins for the Panthers who capped the contest off with his second try.
FULLTIME - Panthers 40-22