Penrith's brilliant season keeps on keeping on as they withstood yet another brilliant Souths second half to clinch a 20-16 win at ANZ tonight, and advance to the Grand Final against Melbourne next Sunday.
Souths received a somewhat fortunate penalty in just the second minute but Adam Reynolds failed to kick the goal. Two minutes later they opened the scoring anyway off the back of a brilliant 1-on-1 strip by Corey Allan on Dylan Edwards. The next play saw Reynolds kick from the middle out to the left wing where Alex Johnston took it comfortably and scored out wide. Reynolds converted.
It took Penrith just three minutes to respond with a try of their own, when Nathan Cleary kicked high and long. Johnston dropped it cold and Brian To'o cleaned up the loose ball, evaded a defender and then scooted 10 metres to score to the right of the posts. Cleary converted.
Neither side gave an inch for the next 20 minutes, but in the 28th minute, another pinpoint Cleary kick found a flying Tyrone May who scored between the posts. Cleary added the extras from right in front.
Penrith received a penalty just before halftime and Cleary added another 2 to give his side a 14-6 lead at the break.
Souths were the dominant side when play resumed and in the 49th minute, the reduced their deficit to just 2 points when Dane Gagai made a beeline for the tryline where he was tackled short, but he reached out and then reverse-slam-dunk-styled the ball to just gets it down for a try in the left corner. Reynolds nailed the sideline conversion beautifully.
Penrith scored a great try in the 66th minute thanks to a magnificent run by Isaah Yeo, who stepped off his right foot, then fended off a defender with his left arm, before busting through the Souths line. He then produced a great draw and pass to put Edwards over under the posts. Cleary converted to take the lead back out to 8.
Souths never relented though and in the 72nd minute they went left with a stacked short side, where Cody Walker's pass to Allan was poor, but the winger toed it ahead twice and then grounded the rolling ball for a magnificent try in the left corner. Reynolds failed to convert from touch.
Play continued at a frenetic pass right until the final siren, but in the end, Penrith's stoic defence hung on grimly to get the win.