Panthers fall short at Pepper Stadium
The Panthers have fallen to a 14-12 defeat at the hands of the Sydney Roosters in an absorbing affair at Pepper Stadium.
Anthony Griffin made a surprise last inclusion, recalling Peta Hiku to the side to start off the bench.
The Roosters started brightly and were able to build momentum off repeat sets inside the Panthers half.
The visitors thought they had taken the lead inside ten minutes when a decision was referred to the bunker but it was denied as Boyd Cordner lost possession short of the line.
The Panthers were able to regroup the next set and had the lead moments later.
A penalty conceded by the Roosters 30 metres out led to a shot at goal from Nathan Cleary, who duly converted for the first points of the game.
The first try of the game would come after 25 minutes thanks to a moment of magic from Matt Moylan.
A Nathan Cleary long pass was received by the skipper and with the defence on his heels, he was able to produce a no-look, behind the back, flick pass to Tyrone Peachey who finished off expertly.
Cleary added the extras with a precise kick from the sideline to push the score out to 8-0.
Just as the Panthers looked to be running away with it, the Roosters clawed their way back in to the contest and managed to gain the lead before half-time.
The Bunker awarded Michael Gordon a try and, after converting his own try, brought it back to a two-point game.
With two minutes left in the half, the Roosters had the advantage.
Latrell Mitchell broke free of the defence and after linking up with his halfback, the centre received the ball back to score in the corner. Gordon’s conversion hit the upright as the visitors went in to the break with a 10-8 lead.
HALF TIME: Penrith Panthers 8 – 10 Sydney Roosters
A pair of penalties against the Roosters allowed Cleary to restore the home side’s lead just shy of the hour mark.
Some poor handling and decision-making would cost either side the chance of scoring before the Bunker denied the Roosters the lead when Shaun Kenny-Dowall was adjudged to have knocked on when contesting a high kick.
With ten minutes remaining, it was the Panthers’ turn to be denied.
A towering Cleary kick was spilled by the Roosters and fell in to the hands of Waqa Blake to run away and score, but the Bunker found the kick chasers to be offside.
With time ticking away, the visitors started to chance their arm and a kick down the left from Daniel Tupou bounced kindly for Gordon to cross over for his second of the game to give the Roosters a two point lead heading in to the final five minutes of the game.
A final chance fell in to the arms of Peachey but he was to be denied by some desperate Roosters defence as the visitors stole a 14-12 victory.
FULL TIME: Penrith Panthers 12 – 14 Sydney Roosters