Panthers Too good for young Roosters
An inspired first half performance by Brian Too has guided the Panthers to an 18-14 victory over the Roosters at Panthers Stadium.
Panthers Jersey Flegg coach Ben Harden was forced to make a number of changes to his side for the clash with the fifth placed Roosters after young forwards Brad Gaut and Shawn Blore were given opportunities in the Intrust Super Premiership side to face Wyong.
It took just eight minutes for the Panthers to get on the board. Brian Too cut back off his right foot and powered through would-be defenders on the right edge. Halfback Brendan Hands converted the four-pointer to give the Panthers an early 6-0 lead.
The Roosters responded after winger Asu Kepaoa took full advantage of sustained field position in the Panthers half. Kepaoa was on the end of a slick backline play and strolled over out wide. The conversion attempt from Adam Pompey was waved away.
Too was causing plenty of headaches for the Roosters in the first half. It was no different when the outside back found himself in unfamiliar territory in the middle of the field. With early ball, Too bounced off the defence and planted the ball down for his second of the half. Hands slotted the easy conversion to give the Panthers a 12-4 lead.
The Panthers landed a knockout blow just before the break when halfback Hands put in a pin-point grubber which bounced off the posts and into the waiting hands of Meni Luke. The conversion was successful, giving the home side a comfortable 14-point lead.
HALF-TIME: Panthers 18 - Roosters 4
The Roosters were the first to cross the line in the second forty. Egan Butcher took advantage of some sustained pressure to poke through the Panthers defence. Adam Pompey converted from close range to reduce the deficit to eight.
Freddy Lussick ensured the game would go down to the wire as he proved too strong close to the line. The conversion attempt wasn't successful, meaning the Roosters needed a try in the final two minutes to steal victory.
The Roosters through everything at the Panthers in the final minute, however great scramble defence from winger Marlon Ritchie saw the Panthers hold on for an 18-14 victory at Panthers Stadium.
FULL-TIME: Panthers 18 – Roosters 14