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Fulltime score: Round 22 Sydney Roosters 28 v Penrith Panthers 30
After a lengthy softening up period the Panthers eventually skipped to a 16-0 lead after 25 minutes which was enough to secure them victory despite a late rally by the Roosters. Once Preston Campbell began calling the shots the Panthers were always in control, with Shane Rodney and Frank Pritchard joining the plucky halfback in scoring first half tries.
With Rhys Wesser leaving the field with a leg injury, the Roosters fought back to 16-12 with solid tries to Chris Flannery and winger Amos Roberts. At this point things were looking good for the Roosters before a hearth-breaking effort by Danny Galea on the stroke of halftime taking the lead to 22-12 at the break.
The Roosters could not recover in the second half however, with the deficit proving to be too large after Penrith extended the lead to 28-12 in the 47th minute once again through Campbell, who also added a penalty goal with five minutes to go. Either side of that the Roosters scored three tries, two to Minichiello and another to Roberts with Fitzgibbon adding the extras twice seeing them fall agonisingly short of the mark.
The loss resigns the Roosters to the scrapheap for 2005 and keeps the Panthers away from the wooden spoon for another week.
Roosters v Panthers match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game
Scorers SYDNEY ROOSTERS 28 Tries: Minichiello 2, Roberts 2, Flannery Goals: Fitzgibbon 4/5 PENRITH PANTHERS 30 Tries: Campbell 2, Rodney, Pritchard, Galea Goals: Campbell 5/6
Aussie Stadium Crowd: 10,742 Referee: Jason Robinson Halftime: Panthers 22-12
Beautiful day in the heart of the city, with the sun shining and a cool breeze blowing.
5 min: No score as yet with both teams sorting one another out in the forwards. The Roosters are being made to do plenty of work though.
17 min: TRY - Panthers. Shane Rodney gets the visitors started with a bullocking try. Preston Campbell fails to convert. Panthers 4 Roosters 0.
21 min: TRY - Panthers. Campbell gets amongst it again with a darting effort to score. He converts his own try. Panthers 10 Roosters 0.
25 min: TRY - Panthers. The Mountain Men have sprung into action with another try to powerful forward Frank Pritchard. The video referee was called in to adjudicate. Campbell adds the extras as Penrith skip away to a solid lead. Panthers 16 Roosters 0.
29 min: TRY - Roosters. The home team hit back after being on the receiving end of things with Flannery barging his way over the line. Fitzgibbon makes no mistake with the extras and the difference is now 10. Panthers 16 Roosters 6.
33 min: NEWS - Panthers. Rhys Wesser leaves the field with a leg injury.
35 min: TRY - Roosters. Amos Roberts speeds away to claim a four-pointer as the Roosters begin to claw their way back into the contest. Fitzy converts. Panthers 16 Roosters 12.
40 min: TRY - Panthers. Just as things looked to be evening up the Panthers strike back right on halftime through Danny Galea. Campbell converts. Panthers 22 Roosters 12.
Halftime: This game took a while to get into the swing of things but it's become more entertaining as it progresses. The Panthers have displayed rare glimpses of class and the Roosters began to mount a comeback towards the back end of the half. It promises to be a quality second half as the Roosters look to revive their slim finals hopes.
And we're underway again here at Aussie Stadium.
45 min: NEWS - No change to the score as yet, but the Roosters are being made to do plenty of defense and handing lots of possession to Penrith.
47 min: TRY - Panthers. Campbell is tearing them apart at the moment, scoring his second for the day and he converts to extend the lead. Panthers 28 Roosters 12.
60 min: NEWS - No change to the score but the Panthers are dominating proceedings here with a commanding 16-point lead.
69 min: TRY - Roosters. Flashy fullback Anthony Minichiello scores a good four-pointer and reduces the deficit. Fitzgibbon converts. Panthers 28 Roosters 18.
72 min: TRY - Roosters. Mini in the thick of things again as the Roosters make a late surge here at Aussie Stadium. Fitzy can't convert a tough one. Panthers 28 Roosters 22.
75 min: PENALTY GOAL - Panthers. Campbell adds another two points to snuff out any chance the resurgent Roosters had. Panthers 30 Roosters 22.
79 min: TRY - Roosters. Video ref called in to adjudicate on a try to Amos Roberts, which he awarded. Fiztgibbon converts but the two-point gap sees them fall short with only a minute remaining. Panthers 30 Roosters 28.
Fulltime: The Panthers have held out the Roosters here for a gutsy win.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - P Campbell (Panthers) 2 - L Priddis (Panthers) 1 - C Fitzgibbon (Roosters) -----------------------------------------