Panthers Hoodoo Strikes Again

The Penrith Panthers have caused the upset of the season so far with a 23-22 victory over the Sydney Roosters at Aussie Stadium this afternoon.

Craig Fitzgibbon had a chance to edge the Roosters in front with under five minutes to go after Steve Clark awarded the Roosters a penalty on the Panthers line for offside. Fitzgibbon pushed the kick wide right and failed to kick it dead and the Panthers held on to record their first victory of 2003, keeping their hoodoo over the Roosters firmly in tact.

The Panthers played some great footy but the Roosters were very disappointing and have suffered their first loss of the season. The loss also ends an 11 game winning streak that dates back to last year.

Penrith now face the in form Raiders next week while the Roosters face the Sharks. Roosters' coach Ricky Stuart has a lot of work to do to rid the side of complacency as it was blatantly obvious they only thought they had to turn up to win the game.

The Roosters found out Penrith were made of sterner stuff and although down 16-4 midway through the second half, the Panthers clawed their way back into the match and took the lead in the 66th minute with a try to Rhys Wesser, his third of the afternoon.

The Roosters tried in vain to grab back the lead but the Panthers were not to be denied.

This afternoon?s result shows the competition is far from a four way battle as many would have us believe and is now wide open with every team bar South?s and Cronulla recording a victory so far in 2003.

Scorers: Roosters Tries: Byrne, Fittler x 2, Wing Goals: Fitzgibbon 3/5

Panthers Tries: Wesser x 3, Whatuira Goals: Campbell 3/4, Gower FG

By the clock: 5th min: TRY - Panthers. Wesser crosses after a great break by Preston Campbell sees him make a scintillating 40 metre dash. Conversion unsuccessful. Panthers 4-0. Could the Roosters hoodoo against the Panthers continue?

17th min: TRY - Roosters. Todd Byrne scores out wide after a great break from Fittler sees him throw a long ball to the unmarked Byrne who gets across the line for the Roosters first try of the afternoon. Conversion unsuccesful. 4 all.

31st min: TRY - Roosters. Fittler scores a suspect try to move his tally to 101 first grade tries as the Roosters take the lead for the first time in the match. Conversion successful. Roosters 10-4.

45th min: TRY - Roosters. Wing strolls through some lazy defence to extend the Roosters lead. Conversion successful. Roosters 16-4.

52nd min: TRY - Panthers. Whatuira hits back with a good try to keep the Panthers in the game. Conversion succssful. Roosters 16-10.

59th min: TRY - Panthers. Wessers scores underneath the black dot to level the scores with just over twenty minutes to go. Conversion successful. 16 all.

66th min: TRY - Panthers. Wesser scores off a flcik pass from Puletua to give the Panthers the lead with under fifteen minutes to play. Conversion successful. Panthers 22-16.

69th min: FIELD GOAL - Panthers. Gower pots a field goal to make the task all the more difficult for the Roosters with ten to go. Panthers 23-16.

70th min: TRY - Roosters. Fittler scores after the Roosters charged the ball down through Ryan Cross. Conversion successful. Panthers 23-22.

Leagueunlimited player of the year:

3 points - Rhys Wesser 2 points - Paul Whatuira 1 point - Craig Gower