The NYC Panthers have sealed a stunning 28-24 come-from-behind victory over South Sydney Rabbitohs in Holden Cup at Pepper Stadium.
The visitors started the stronger and had the first points of the game through Gabe Hamlin in the 7th minute. An inside pass from playmaker Adam Doueihi put the forward in to a gap close to the line to give his side a 6-0 lead following Doueihi’s successful conversion.
The Souths had their second try inside ten minutes through Beau Cordtz when the fullback sliced through the defence to score. Doueihi’s conversion made it 12-0 early on to the visitors.
It was 18-0 just shy of the midway point in the first half when Cordtz strolled over his second of the game. A perfectly timed grubber sat up kindly for the fullback to get a double before Doueihi’s conversion gave his side a comfortable 18-0 lead heading in to the break.
HALF TIME: Penrith Panthers 0 – 18 South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Panthers returned from the break energetic and took advantage of the first opportunity to put points on the board through Reed Izzard. Dean Blore held the ball up and weighted a perfect pass for Izzard to run on to. Blore added the extras to bring his side back to within two converted tries.
Their joy was short lived when the visitors regained their three-try advantage after 50 minutes when Blake Manowski burrowed his way over the line from dummy half. Doueihi landed his fourth conversion to make it 24-6.
The hour mark passed and the Panthers had their second through Vondel Williams-Liolevave. The backrower powered his over the line to cut the margin back to 12 points following Blore’s successful conversion.
Three minutes later the Panthers were in again thanks to Richie Munchow’s acrobatic effort. The ball spread to the right edge and Munchow managed to get around his defender to dive over in the corner. Blore’s conversion was waved away and the score remained 24-16.
Dean Blore set up a grandstand finish when his mesmerising, solo try and conversion brought the Panthers back to within two points with just four minutes remaining.
One last opportunity to clinch the match winner fell in to the hands of Caleb Aekins who dived over in the corner to claim a miraculous four-point win and hand his side their fifth consecutive victory.
FULL TIME: Penrith Panthers 28 – 24 South Sydney Rabbitohs