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Mitchell Pearce has stolen a win for the Roosters tonight, racing 90 metres to score the match-winner in the dying seconds to beat the Panthers 24-20 at CUA Stadium.
The Panthers were thirty seconds away from their fifth win of the season. Captain Craig Gower had the ball in hand on the last tackle, twenty out from the Roosters line. He had two options that would win the game for his team. He could kick the ball into touch, or he could hold on and take the tackle. Gower did neither. He hesitated, giving Roosters five eighth Setaimata Sa the chance to race out of the line and knock the ball free for Pearce to swoop on the ball and race away untouched to score an unlikely victory for his team.
It was a match that hung in the balance for the final fifteen minutes. Although it wasn't a case of each team being threatening with ball in hand, and the other's desperation defense being up to the task. No, this was a case of both teams doing their best to give the other as much possession through mistakes as possible.
Penrith led for most of the game. Coming out of half time leading 10-6, they were the first to post points following a one-on-one steal by Luke Lewis, which eventually led to Junior Moors barging over in the far corner to give the Panthers a 14-6 lead.
Things began to fall away for the home team over the next ten minutes, with two costly blunders close to their line directly leading to Roosters tries. The first came on the restart set following Moors try, in which Moors himself went from hero to villain when he lost the ball, resulting in the Roosters getting a chance and converting it through Sa. The second blunder was by Frank Pritchard, and it was one that was reminiscent of Jarryd Hayne circa Origin I. Pritchard cleaned up a Roosters grubber close to his line and, instead of going to ground with it, he tried to throw the miracle ball, which the Roosters then regathered. Two plays later and Roberts was in under the posts and the Roosters were in the lead for the first time in the game.
The Panthers managed to re-gain the lead once more through Joel Clinton thanks to some nice lead-up work from Gower, but it wasn't to be as they were made to pay for their poor handling and ill-discipline throughout the match.
Round 14 - Full Time :: June 16th, 2007 07:30 PM Venue: CUA Stadium Referee: Ben Cummins
Penrith Panthers (20) Tries: Michael Jennings, Nathan Smith, Junior Moors, Joel Clinton Goals: Michael Gordon (2/4) Sydney Roosters (24) Tries: Sam Perrett, Setaimata Sa, Amos Roberts, Mitchell Pearce Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon (4/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Mitchell Pearce 2 Points: Danny Nutley 1 Point: Joel Clinton
League Unlimited Live Commentary:
Welcome to CUA Stadium in Penrith for this Saturday Night clash between the Panthers and the Roosters. Mother Nature has once again reared her ugly head this weekend, and the rains have been coming down hard in Sydney all throughout the day. Tonights game will no doubt be a much safer game from both teams, featuring a lot of one-out running, and with ball-security being paramount.
Team changes are as such:
The Panthers are as per program. The Roosters have a couple of crucial changes. Anthony Minichiello and Braith Anasta are both out. Minichiello is suffering that back injury that kept him out of Origin II, while Braith Anasta received a broken finger during that game, and both will be out of action for a few weeks. Amos Roberts move from wing back to fullback, with Shaun Kenny-Dowall coming onto the wing. Ashley Harrison moves from the bench to the lock-forward position, with Danny Williams coming onto the bench.
Both teams are out on field, with kick-off moments away.
0 min: And Peter Wallace gets us underway!
2 min: VIDEO REF - POSSIBLE PANTHERS TRY...
2 min: NO TRY - PENALTY. Video Referee Pat Reynolds rules that Frank Pritchard took out a Roosters player in the play leading up to the try. Roosters on attack 20 out from the Panthers line.
3 min: VIDEO REF - POSSIBLE ROOSTERS TRY...
3 min: NO TRY - 20 METRE RESTART. Joel Monaghan ruled to have knocked the ball on in-goal
7 min: Roberts kicks the ball along the ground, forcing Youngquest to ground the ball in-goal, earning the Roosters the repeat set.
9 min: TRY Penrith Panthers On the last play, Michael Jennings picks up Mitchell Pierce's grubber through, and races away 90 metres to score the opening points of the match. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon unsuccessful. Penrith Panthers 4-0
15 min: Jennings fails to take a Pritchard offload, and a scoring opportunity goes begging.
17 min: Mistakes ruining this game at the moment, with neither team able to maintain pressure on the other.
19 min: Amos Roberts has just blown the easiest try you will ever see. Pierce grubbered through under the posts. Roberts steamed through the line, the ball bounced up to his hands, and he knocked it on.
21 min: Anthony Tupou, for some reason, has just tried to offload to a player that was already in-front of him. With the rain back after a short dry spell, both teams need to try and stop forcing the impossible pass.
30 min: Brendan Worth drops the ball with the line open for Penrith and an opportunity goes begging.
32 min: TRY Sydney Roosters Sam Perrett flew high over Michael Gordon to take a Pierce cross-field bomb, and dove over for the Roosters first points of the night. Conversion attempt by Craig Fitzgibbon successful. Penrith Panthers 10-6
35 min: Danny Nutley has just smashed Worth in a tackle, forcing an error and leaving Worth a bit worse for wear.
37 min: Nate Myles has just been penalised and put on report for taking Paul Aiton past the horizontal in a tackle. Aiton had lost the ball in the tackle, and it was going to be a scrum to the Roosters, until the video referee obviously let the on-field ref that the tackle was illegal.
40 min: The Roosters have just survived a final attacking raid from the Panthers, and will go into the sheds four points down at half time.
HALF TIME: It's half time here at CUA Stadium in what has been a scrappy match, with neither team being able to convert the majority of their field position into points. Penrith lead going into the break, 10-6
40 min: Amos Roberts has got the Panthers off to the perfect start by kicking out on the full.
44 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Following a one-on-one steal by Luke Lewis deep in Roosters territory, the Panthers worked their way towards the line, until Junior Moors took the ball and barged his way over the line in the far corner. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon unsuccessful. Penrith Panthers 14-6
48 min: VIDEO REF - POSSIBLE ROOSTERS TRY...
48 min: TRY Sydney Roosters The Roosters hit straight back through five-eighth Setaimata Sa. Moors went from hero to villian in the space of two minutes after he dropped the ball on the restart set. The Roosters then went hard on the Panthers line, until Pierce put a short kick through on the last for Sa to pounce on and reduce the Panthers lead to 2. Conversion attempt by Craig Fitzgibbon successful. Penrith Panthers 14-12
53 min: The Roosters clearly in control of this game at the moment, forcing a line-drop out out of the Panthers.
55 min: VIDEO REF - POSSIBLE ROOSTERS TRY...
55 min: TRY Sydney Roosters Amos Roberts puts the Roosters in front for the first time in the match, following a Frank Pritchard brain-explosion reminiscent of Jarryd Hayne in Origin I. Pritchard cleaned up a Pierce grubber on his own line, and then tried to throw the miracle pass, which was picked off by the Roosters, who scored under the posts on the following play. Conversion attempt by Craig Fitzgibbon successful. Sydney Roosters 18-14
58 min: Panthers looking to hit straight back, getting the repeat set through a goal-line dropout.
59 min: VIDEO REF - POSSIBLE PANTHERS TRY...
59 min: NO TRY - PENALTY. Rhys Wesser has been denied a try, being ruled offside by video referee Reynolds.
63 min: TRY Penrith Panthers The Panthers are back in the lead through some lovely play from Craig Gower. Getting the ball from Priddis 10-out from the Roosters line, Gower looked and shaped to pass left, before taking the line on and passing right to Clinton who steamed over for the try. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 20-18
67 min: Both teams still trying to get away the impossible pass, only resulting in putting themselves under even more pressure.
70 min: Penrith getting hammered in the penalty count, giving away 9 to the Roosters 4
74 min: Neither side seemingly capable of delivering the final blow, with mistakes coming thick and fast.
77 min: Penrith cough the ball up once again, giving the Roosters another chance to go downfield and try and put something together
79 min: VIDEO REF - POSSIBLE ROOSTERS TRY...
80 min: TRY Sydney Roosters Penrith were going to win the game, until the biggest stuff-up of all has given the Roosters the most unlikely win you will see. On the 5th tackle, deep in Roosters territory, with thirty seconds remaining and up by 2, all Craig Gower had to do was take the tackle, or kick the ball into touch. Instead, he hesitated, and Setaimata Sa raced out of the line, knocked the ball free, and Mitchell Pierce pounced on the ball and raced 90 meters to score the match winner. Conversion attempt by Craig Fitzgibbon successful. Sydney Roosters 24-20
FULL TIME: And the Roosters have stolen the win from Penriths grasp in the final seconds of the game, running out 24-20 winners.