Penrith’s Nathan Cleary lands a long-range field goal to sink the Wests Tigers in extra time, while the Warriors do the business against the Titans across the Tasman.
Cleary field goal sees Panthers edge out Tigers
Penrith star Nathan Cleary has nailed a 40-metre golden-point field goal to claim a dramatic 9-8 victory over the Wests Tigers.
The Panthers were trailing by six points with one minute to go on Friday night when Dylan Edwards scored to set up a pressure kick for Cleary after the siren.
Cleary, whose father Ivan was coaching against the club he walked out on during the off-season, nailed the sideline conversion before also piloting the match winner through the sticks to send the bulk of the 14,002-strong crowd at Panthers Stadium into raptures.
Cleary’s field goal came after Tigers half-back Luke Brooks missed two one-point attempts either side of full-time.
Tigers five-eighth Josh Reynolds also missed a field goal late in the match.
It initially appeared the wheels had fallen off the bus at Penrith as the Tigers looked to have extended the Panthers’ try scoring drought to over two matches.
Edwards’s try, which came after being shunted to the wing mid-game following another error-riddled performance at full-back, ended the drought at 195 minutes.
It was a heart-stopping ending to a match that the Tigers had in their grasp, they were on the brink of claiming revenge over the coach who walked out on them last season.
Reynolds set up the lead by setting up two tries either side of half-time in his season debut.
It was a classy display from the former New South Wales Origin playmaker, who appeared to have showed up the incumbent Blues pairing of Cleary and James Maloney.
It was not all good news for Panthers coach Cleary, however, with second rower Frank Winterstein suffering a knee injury early in the clash.
Co-captain Isaah Yeo was also placed on report for a crusher tackle.
Error-prone Titans gift Warriors NRL win
The return of first-choice halves Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts was not enough to stop Gold Coast bumbling to a 26-10 loss to the Warriors in Auckland and setting an unwanted club record.
Almost comically bad under the high ball, the last-placed Titans gifted victory on a platter to the home side on Friday night to make it four losses from four.
No Gold Coast team has started a season this badly and coach Garth Brennan faces a major salvage job if the Titans are not to spend 2019 in the competition cellar.
Taylor and Roberts came through unscathed in their returns from injury but had little impact, with the Titans undone by their 69 per cent completion rate.
Their largesse was gratefully accepted by the Warriors, whose own campaign looked close to fragmenting after conceding 80 combined points in consecutive losses to the Tigers and Sea Eagles.
While far from perfect, the hosts more closely resembled the team that thumped the Bulldogs in the first round at the same Mt Smart Stadium venue.
The first of four tries went to Peta Hiku via a slick Blake Green cut-out pass before David Fusitu’a lodged his first score of the season after a neat Roger Tuivasa-Sheck backline injection.
Up 12-0 at half-time, the Warriors looked to have sealed the outcome when Tuivasa-Sheck scored from a Green inside pass.
The visitors duly enjoyed their best period, setting up tries to wingers Dale Copley and Anthony Don in the space of four minutes.
But second rower Tohu Harris completed the scoring in easily his best Warriors outing this season, shunting aside Taylor on his way to the tryline.
Harris was part of an impressive left edge which featured five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tavita in a promising debut.
The 20-year-old, who replaced fellow youngster Adam Keighran, landed five of his six shots at goal and made a number of lively bursts.
Topics: sport, rugby-league, nrl, new-zealand, robina-4226, penrith-2750, leichardt-3516, campbelltown-2560
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