25 rounds, 192 games, #Origin on a Sunday, and a September Grand Final.
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Ryan Girdler played his best game of the season as the Panthers scored a come from behind 28-18 victory over the Broncos today at the Penrith Football Stadium. The Panthers now qualify for a Preliminary Final showdown with either the Warriors or Raiders in two weeks time.
Not everything went the Panthers way though as the Broncos went into the sheds leading 18-10 at half time with Darren Lockyer playing havoc with the Panthers' right flank.
Enter the second half and enter Ryan Girdler who just kept on popping up everywhere. The highlight of the game was a 60 metre intercept try by Girdler in the 53rd minute which put the Panthers in the lead for the first time in the game.
Other good performers in the Panthers line up included Craig Gower and Shannon Donato who was a late addition to the side after incumbent hooker Luke Priddis was taken to Hospital with a punctured lung during the week.
For the Broncos Mad Monday celebrations and end of season trips are on the agenda as they will look back on season 2003 in disappointment after a promising start.
Scorers: PANTHERS 28 Tries: Lewis 2, Ross, Girdler, Sattler Goals: Girdler 4/5 defeated BRONCOS 18 Tries: Kelly 2, Minto Goals: Devere 3/4
Sunday 14 Sep 2003 3:00 PM Penrith Football Stadium Referee: Stephen Clark Video Referee: Chris Ward
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match 3 - R Girdler (Panthers) 2 - C Gower (Panthers) 1 - S Donato (Panthers)
By the clock: 0 min: Kick Off!
2 min: TRY Broncos: Stuart Kelly is awarded a controversial try by the video referee after running onto a Darren Lockyer kick which appeared to have been propelled forward by Shaun Berrigan. Michael Devere is successful with the conversion. Broncos 6-0
10 min: NEWS: The Panthers are denied a try by the video referee after Paul Whatuira is found to have dropped the ball just short of the line after the ball deflected off Dane Carlaw who tried to intercept a pass from Luke Lewis.
13 min: TRY Broncos: Stuart Kelly scores his second try in the corner after some neat lead up work by Darren Lockyer. Michael Devere hits the posts with the conversion. Broncos 10-0
19 min: GOAL Broncos: Michael Devere kicks a penalty goal from right in front after Panthers hooker Shannon Donato is penalised for interferring with the defence while the Panthers had possession. Broncos 12-0
25 min: TRY Panthers: Luke Lewis scores the Panthers first try of the afternoon after receiving a great ball from Ryan Girdler. Girdler is unsuccessful with the conversion. Broncos 12-4
30 min: TRY Broncos: Scott Minto scores in the corner after some great lead up work by Dane Carlaw and Darren Lockyer and some bad reads in defence by Paul Whatuira and Luke Lewis. Michael Devere is successful with the conversion form the touchline. Broncos 18-4
39 min: TRY Panthers: Replacement prop Ben Ross crashes over the line by barging through Carl Webb and Shane Webcke. Ryan Girdler is successful with the conversion from in front. Broncos 18-10
Halftime: Despite a slow start the Panthers are definitley still in with a chance considering they will have a very strong southerly breeze at their backs in the second half. For the Broncos Darren Lockyer is back to his brilliant best and he has exposed a weakness down the Panthers right wing with Stuart Kelly and Scott Minto being the main beneficiaries. The Panthers must fix this in the second half if they are to be a chance despite having the breeze in the second half.
42 min: NEWS: After some long consultation with the video referee Ryan Girdler is denied a try after the video referee ruled that a Preston Campbell bomb was deflected forward by Paul Whatuira.
43 min: NEWS: Ben Ikin is denied a try by the video referee after he was found to be in front of Corey Parker who put a grubber into the in goal area.
53 min: TRY Panthers: The intercept king Ryan Girdler runs 60 metres to score under the posts after intercepting a pass from Ben Ikin to put the Panthers in the lead for the first time in the game. Girdler is successful with the conversion. Panthers 22-18
56 min: NEWS: The Panthers get the scrum feed in the Broncos red zone after a great 40-20 kick by Craig Gower.
59 min: NEWS: Scott Minto is denied a try by the video referee after his hand goes into touch after being pushed by Preston Campbell.
66 min: TRY Panthers: Scott Sattler scores after a great inside ball by Luke Lewis which drew in 2 Broncos defenders. On the down side Panthers second rower Joe Galuvao is assisted form the field with an injury. Ryan Girdler is successful with the conversion. Panthers 28-18
Fulltime: After a promising start by the Broncos where they led 18-10 at halftime the Panthers proved too classy for the out of form Broncos and gave their fans plenty of confidence for the preliminary final in 2 weeks time.