Panthers SG Ball finish strong in Manly stalemate
Story & Photo by : Andrew Jackson Panthers Junior Reporter
The SG Ball Panthers pounced late to snatch a 24-all draw with Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval on Saturday.
Following the lead of the Harold Matthews side, who stole a two-point win in the final minute of their game, the SG Ball squad also waited until the dying moments to strike.
Trailing 24-18 with just over two minutes on the clock, lock Izack Tago drifted across the field to create numbers and put Ashley Cosgrove over in the corner.
Niwhai Puru then stepped up to nail the two-pointer from near the sideline.
The Panthers had only a handful of tackles to conjure a miracle from inside their own half but were unable to, instead settling for a hard-fought draw.
It was a pleasing result for the Panthers, who were under the pump for the majority of the game defending their own line.
The Sea Eagles caught Penrith off guard in the opening minute as speedy fullback Tolu Koula split the Panthers defenders through the middle.
But his opposite number Sunia Turuva dragged him into touch and the Panthers number one was rewarded minutes later with a try of his own.
Turuva, who also has a blistering turn of pace, danced down the right edge before reaching out to score the opening try in the third minute.
The Panthers could not stop Koula ten minutes later though as he used his pace to get on the outside and put Cameron Brown over.
A long cut-out pass saw Manly extend their lead five minutes later as Sunia Siasau crossed over.
Perseverance paid off soon after for Penrith as Jesse Buchan chased down a kick and forced Manly into a mistake in-goal before grounding the ball.
HALF-TIME: Panthers 8 Sea Eagles 8
Excellent scramble in defence from winger Maxwell Pritchard helped the Panthers shut down centre Simon Tito and paved the way for Penrith to score the first try of the second half.
It was Tago who showed serious strength to force the ball over the line despite carrying with him a host of Manly defenders.
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