Matthew Moylan has slotted his second field goal of the season, helping to steer Penrith to a late 23-22 win over a gallant North Queensland side, in front of 7,276 fans at Penrith Park tonight.
The Panthers playing roster, is resembling more a casualty ward, as more than half their squad is spending time on the sideline this season. James Segeyaro was the latest to join the ward with an injury late in the contest, as the two teams were locked at 22-a piece in the sodden conditions in Sydney's west.
Injuries have opened the door, for Jamie Soward, to become captain of the Panthers in his first season at the club. The halfback has stepped into the void from the numerous injuries in the halves, this season. He scored the Panthers opening two tries, starting and finishing a movement for his first and giving a glimpse of his maligned running game to rack up ten points alone in the opening half hour.
Despite the Soward heroics, Penrith found themselves much like last week against St George, behind after five minutes. A Mansour error gave Thurston opportunity and he sent a deft pass, to Kane Linnett to give the Cowboys, the perfect start in trying to make it three from three on the road in recent weeks.
North Queensland showed some steely resolve, twice fighting back to keep themselves in the game against a Penrith outfit that have surprised many this season. Speaking of unexpected, it was Gavin Cooper playing the play-making role, providing the assist for the Glenn Hall try to reduce the deficit to four right on the bell after Jeremy Latimore, scored the Panthers third.
In trying conditions, both teams showed attacking football to defy the conditions. North Queensland continued their roll from the first half, scoring within five minutes of the restart. Some crafty footwork, put the halfback over and Johnathan Thurston's conversion, put them ahead for the first time since the fifth minute.
When things went well for the Cowboys, it was quickly followed by an error, penalty or in Matthew Wright's case, a sin-bin. The winger was binned for a professional foul after Jamie Soward intercepted the ball. Soward not content to provide the field position, threw a lovely floated pass for Josh Mansour, to score in the corner.
When one halfback was providing inspiration for his side, it was the Cowboy's halfback, on a broken piece of play, kicked for Cooper, to bat back to Antonio Winterstein. The winger showed guile and speed, to hug the touchline and score in the corner. Thurston couldn't convert the tough sideline kick and it was locked at 22-all.
Both teams were tussling, like two sides of a tug-o-war with a focus on field position instead of a flurry of field goal attempts. There was only one, Matthew Moylan, who kicked a field goal earlier this year against Brisbane, stepped up again. After Soward was rushed upon, the ball found it's way to the fullback who slotted the field goal, rising the Panthers to third despite, a massive injury toll.