Panthers share spoils with fast-finishing Raiders

The Jersey Flegg Panthers were forced to settle for a 26-all draw after being run down by Canberra Raiders at Panthers Stadium on Sunday.

Penrith impressed early, jumping out to a 26-6 lead in the second half before Canberra ran in four-straight tries to set up a grandstand finish.

Both teams had opportunities to steal the two points late but couldn’t execute, sharing the points in the end.

The Panthers had to weather an early storm, defending four-straight sets on their line before marching upfield to score off their first opportunity.

It was all Glenn McGrady as the winger flirted with the touchline before diving over in the corner in a wonderful display of athleticism.

Brendan Hands sent the conversion through the posts from the sideline.

Penrith eventually cracked as a well-weighted kick from Canberra five-eighth Jarrett Subloo was pounced on by Harley Smith-Shields.

The attempt at conversion from Tobias Westcott was successful.

A towering bomb from five-eighth Adam Fearnley then forced an error from winger Semi Valemei and the Panthers immediately capitalised as Jake Tago powered over on the left edge.

Hands pushed his conversion to the left of the posts.

After scoring Penrith’s first try, McGrady then saved one. Canberra centre Matthew Timoko burst through a gaping hole and then kicked inside for his support only for McGrady to get to the ball first in cover.

It proved a pivotal play as the Panthers went on to score moments later, Hands taking on the line and crashing over next to the posts.

The halfback converted his own try to push Penrith’s lead out to 10 points at the break.

HALF-TIME: Panthers 16 Raiders 6

The Panthers started the second half where they left off, Maurice Trindall burrowing over out of dummy-half to score before a double pump from Staines put Justin Jones over soon after.

Hands could only send over one of the conversions, leaving the difference at 20.

Canberra eventually stormed right back into the contest with three quick tries, the first to Jackson Stuart before a break from Smith-Shields ended in Valemei crossing over in the corner.

Ata Mariota then charged through some flimsy defence to reduce the deficit to just six points heading into the final ten minutes.

And soon after they locked things up as Timoko scooped up a loose ball to run away and score.

Neither side could come up with the game-breaking play sharing a hard-fought draw.

FULL-TIME: Panthers 26 Raiders 26