The NYC Panthers have been overrun by a rampant Sydney Roosters 30-28 in the 2016 Holden Cup Grand Final.
The young Panthers took a 28-6 lead into halftime but the Roosters fired up in the second stanza to charge over the top of the tiring minor premiers.
Panthers NYC coach Cam Ciraldo pulled a shock late change with Dean Blore dropping back to the bench, Soni Luke promoted into starting hooker and Wayde Egan into the halves.
The Panthers blew an opportunity in the 5th minute as Kaide Ellis dropped a short ball with the tryline at his mercy. The Roosters made them pay as they broke down the right flank three minutes later and centre Joseph Manu finished the move with a try out wide. Jesse Marschke nailed the conversion for a 6-0 lead.
In the 15th minute, on the back of a repeat set, Corey Waddell found an offload and Christian Crichton touched down. Dylan Edwards was on target with the conversion and the game was locked up at 6-6.
Waddell backed up the key offload with a try of his own in the 21st minute. Swooping upon a loose ball, the backrower broke clear on a 30-metre charge to score under the posts. Edwards kicked the simple conversion for a 12-6 lead.
It was only another three minutes until the Panthers were in again. Centre Braidon Burns backed himself from close range and powered his way over in the tackle. Edwards couldn’t convert from the right touchline so the score remained 16-6.
The Roosters thought they had struck back in the 28th minute but Panthers skipper Oliver Clark challenged the on-field try decision. The Bunker deemed that Panthers winger Daniel Brown had been interfered with in the air and overturned the call.
With seven minutes left in the half, Roosters hooker Grant Garvey reeled in a Blore chip and raced clear. Egan pulled off a try-saving tackle from behind and Garvey lost possession as he hit the turf.
From there the Panthers went on the attack and a strong charge from Ellis, with safe hands this time, was rewarded with a four-pointer between the sticks. The conversion was successful from Edwards for a 22-6 lead.
Darting out of dummy half with two minutes to the break, Egan showed some individual magic to somehow reach out and score. The conversion from Edwards meant the Panthers took a 28-6 lead into halftime.
HALFTIME – Panthers 28-6
The Roosters got their second half off to the perfect start as captain Nat Butcher showed brute strength to punch his way over the tryline. Marschke made no mistake with the conversion and the score was 28-12.
They went back-to-back as Sitili Tupouniua barged his way over off a short ball on the last tackle in the 50th minute. Once again Marschke was successful with the conversion and with 30 minutes left in the contest the scoreboard read 28-18.
Ratu Tuisese had an opportunity in the corner with 21 minutes left but with not much room to work with, the winger put his foot in touch at the last second.
Daniel Brown broke clear three minutes later but had the ball pulled from his grasp with a last-ditch attempted tackle. The referee ruled a knock-on and the chance was gone.
The Roosters made it count down the other end of the field as Manu cleaned up a spilled grubber and touched down to make in the 65th minute. The conversion made the score 28-24.
With six minutes left in the game an attempted grubber from Tyrone May was blocked and the Roosters broke clear. Winger Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck finished the 70-metre breakaway and another Marschke conversion put the Roosters ahead 30-28.
In the 77th minute the Roosters were penalised for a shoulder charge and Edwards lined up a shot to level the game. He sent it to the right of the uprights and the Roosters remained in the lead.
FULLTIME - Roosters 30-28