The NYC Panthers have earned themselves a week off with a 28-6 victory over the Sharks at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
The game was locked up at 6-6 at halftime but the Panthers' persistence paid off after the break as they began to punch holes in some stoic Sharks defence.
Sharks skipper Jayden Brailey opened the scoring after only six minutes as he scooted out of dummy half and buried his way over. Jack Williams sent the conversion over for a 6-0 lead.
In the 12th minute the Sharks scrambled and somehow managed to repel a Panthers attack, with Dylan Edwards losing possession over the tryline.
The Panthers finally hit back in the 22nd minute as playmaker Dean Blore sliced his way through the line and ran 25m to score out wide. Edwards nailed the conversion to lock the game up at 6-6.
Eight minutes later the Sharks sent the ball to their left flank and the referees ruled a try in the left corner. The Panthers challenged the decision and it was overturned by the NRL Bunker, with the Cronulla winger clearly losing possession.
The Panthers were a frustrated team as the halftime break approached. They were getting no love from the referees despite the Sharks clearly slowing down their play-the-balls on a regular basis.
HALFTIME – Panthers 6-6 Sharks
The Panthers got their second half off to the perfect start as Sharks winger Josh Tuilagi dropped the ball. It was scooped up by Reed Izzard who held off the last defender to dive over in the corner in the 41st minute. Edwards slotted the conversion to make it 12-6.
Some more loose hands from the Sharks gifted another Panthers try seven minutes later. Failing to clean up a kick, Izzard swooped and offloaded for Daniel Brown to score with an athletic one-handed grounding. Edwards couldn’t convert from the sideline and the score remained 16-6.
After Braidon Burns was inexplicably denied a penalty try after having the ball dislodged by a flying kick from a Sharks defender, the Panthers struck. Wayde Egan dummied and went himself to score in the 56th minute. Edwards couldn't convert, leaving the score at 20-6.
The Panthers wrapped up the contest as they ran the ball on the last tackle in the 70th minute. Winger Ratu Tuisese was on hand to sprint to the corner and finish in typically athletic fashion. Edwards was once again off target but the score now read 24-6.
Fatigue set in and the attack of both sides lost its intensity in the closing moments. However a huge break from Tuisese in the final seconds led to an intelligent kick to the opposite flank and an unmarked Braidon Burns picked up the ball to score a spectacular try.
FULLTIME - Panthers 28-6