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Canberra squeeze past Panthers 20-16
Canberra beat Penrith 20-16 at CUA Stadium on Saturday night but their performance won't have NRL heavyweights shaking in their boots.
The undermanned Raiders got home on the back of a Marshall Chalk try midway through the second half, his four-pointer the only scoreboard movement of what proved to be a dour second stanza.
It was a courageous performance by the visitors who did the job with only 15 fit players for the second 40 minutes, young fullback William Zillman facing his second left knee reconstruction in as many seasons while prop Scott Logan suffered a cheekbone injury.
The match couldn't have started better for the Raiders who scored with their first touch of the ball, Zillman racing 80 metres after reeling in a clearing kick.
The visitors made it 12-0 after as many minutes and the only real resistance was coming from the crowd, tryscorers Zillman and Bronx Goodwin both pelted with missiles as they dived over.
Penrith finally got rolling when Maurice Blair sent Rhys Wesser over and they should have taken the lead a short time later when Petero Civoniceva looked more an 18-year-old centre than 31-year-old prop as he galloped down field.
The play ended with the Panthers handed a dubious penalty for Wesser being held back as he supported his skipper, but the home side got the maximum on the hour with Brad Tighe going over after a brilliant Jarrod Sammut 40-20.
Sammut was robbed of what seemed a fair four-pointer of his own five minutes before the break, video referee somehow finding an offside infringement after the busy No.7 had regathered his own grubber.
With Zillman and Logan not returning after the break it appeared the Panthers would just have to hold onto the ball to overrun the visitors.
They had their chances early but the Raiders controlled the tempo, Marshall Chalk giving Canberra a lead they would not relinquish after 54 minutes when the visitors created a simple overlap.