A late converted try has seen the ISP Panthers escape with a 16-all draw with Wyong Roos at Morry Breen Oval on Saturday.
In wet and windy conditions, a 76th minute try from winger Maika Sivo and a pinpoint conversion from Adam Keighran ensured the Panthers wouldn't leave Wyong empty-handed.
Ten minutes into the contest an incisive break from Panthers fullback Caleb Aekins ended with centre Sam Smith charging towards the tryline, only to be tackled into touch as he went to ground the ball.
After giving away a needless penalty on the fifth tackle, the Panthers conceded the first points of the game in the 25th minute. Wyong scored in the corner through winger Josh Mantellato following a smart offload from backrower Brock Gray. The attempted conversion was unsuccessful but the Roos led 4-0.
Seven minutes later the Panthers hit back as Tom Eisenhuth found himself in space before offloading for Aekins, who sent Sivo away to the tryline.
The Panthers went back-to-back as prop Kaide Ellis busted up the middle and passed to hooker Wayde Egan, who streaked away to score under the black dot. Adam Keighran knocked the simple conversion over for a 10-4 lead.
On the cusp of half-time Wyong forward Ben Thomas ran hard at the line and some sleepy Panthers defence allowed him to touch down. The conversion from Mantellato levelled the scores.
HALF-TIME – Panthers 10 – 10 Wyong
Back-to-back penalties went the way of the Roos immediately after the break and they took full advantage when a shift to the left edge sent backrower Brock Gray over to score. Mantellato converted to give Wyong a 16-10 lead in the 45th minute.
The Wyong winger attempted to slot a penalty goal a couple of minutes later but it sailed wide.
Roos hooker Mitch Williams was sin-binned after committing a professional foul from a Panthers quick tap but the visitors still couldn't find a way through the committed Wyong defence.
As the match moved into the final ten minutes Wyong five-eighth Sean O'Sullivan attempted a field goal but it was off target.
In the 76th minute the Panthers finally found the points they were chasing. A grubber from Wayde Egan ricocheted off the defence into the hands of Eisenhuth, who put Sivo over to score his second of the game. Keighran nailed the conversion from out wide and the Panthers secured a vital competition point.
FULL-TIME - Panthers 16 - 16 Wyong