Luke Hanson was the hero as the Harold Matthews Panthers scored a last-gasp 12-10 win over Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval on Saturday.
Penrith trailed 10-6 heading into the final minute of the game and were handed a penalty and full set near Manly’s line.
That is when Hanson turned match-winner, sneaking out of dummy-half to plant the ball next to the posts before being swarmed on by his Panthers teammates.
Penrith have now won their opening two games of the season while handing Manly its first taste of defeat.
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Cainan Hardiman also impressed for the Panthers with a number of decisive runs in attack and tackles in defence.
The winger scored Penrith’s first try of the afternoon off a well-weighted kick from Tylor Bunting, moments after surging upfield to bring the Panthers into attacking territory.
Hardiman also stood tall in defence, coming up with a crucial tackle on a runaway Eli Sagala to stop a certain Sea Eagles try.
The Panthers put themselves under immediate pressure early in Saturday’s game with a string of errors and were made to pay as Samuela Fainu charged over for Manly.
Hardiman then scored as Penrith hit back before Bunting looked to have a try of his own.
But the elusive halfback was ruled to have taken advantage of an obstruction in the lead-up.
It was not the only time Bunting went close to getting on the highlights reel, with his footwork proving a handful for the Manly defence throughout the sixty minutes.
HALF-TIME: Panthers 6 Sea Eagles 6
Eventually the Sea Eagles bounced back as the Panthers failed to clean up a last-tackle kick.
But Penrith otherwise held strong against a Manly side that had previously averaged 30 points a game.
Lleyten Tautua and Tevita Alatini continued to lay a strong platform for Penrith up front and with Bunting scheming it only seemed a matter of time before Penrith would strike.
But it was Hanson, who had been poking his nose through the defensive line in the later stages of the game, who proved the difference.
Isaiya Katoa nailed both conversions to hand the Panthers a tight two-point win.
FULL-TIME: Panthers 12 Sea Eagles 10
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