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globalrugbyleague - Sat, 02 Jun 2007 10:56:00 GMT

For Panthers coach Mathew Elliot it was a good Friday after his side achieved what 10 other NRL teams have failed to accomplish this season. They beat Manly.


And not just beat them but tease them all night long in a game which exposed just as many twists and turns as you’d find in an episode of world’s wildest police chases.

Manly gave everybody a false impression when Michael Robertson touched down inside the opening set of the night. The Eagles had landed. Or so we thought.

Then the home side hit back with a converted try to Tony Puletua 7 minutes later. For the rest of the first half it was an arm wrestle with the lead changing a total of four-times inside the opening forty.

A Matt Orford four-pointer was followed up by two touchdowns from Nick Youngquest who was named as 18th man in the program guide, giving Penrith a 16-10 lead at half-time.

The colourful and highly emotional half-time talk from Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler didn’t seem to work early in the second half when the visitors dropped their bundle right from the outset.

The result? A try to Panthers fullback Rhys Wesser off the back of a spectacular movement centre-field from five-eighth Peter Wallace who exploited some space by offloading to Michael Jennings who then handed the ball to Wesser.

Manly never gave up and gradually gnawed at the homeside defence, resulting in Penrith’s 12-point lead being cut to just 6 after Anthony Watmough scooted over in the 68th minute with help from a Matt Orford inside pass.

The victory was made even more buoyant for coach Elliot given that Manly were the competition favourites and lead the penalty count 8-1 inside the final forty minutes.

But the bad news? At the end of the game Elliot’s best player on the night, Peter Wallace, confirmed he’d signed with the Brisbane Broncos earlier in the week and will play halfback against his current team in 2008.

Could such a victory be the catalyst for a turn-around in form from Penrith? Stranger things have happened this season.

Panthers 22 (N Youngquest 2, T Puletua, R Wesser tries; P Wallace 3 goals) d Manly 16 (M Robertson, M Orford, A Watmough tries; J Lyon 2 goals) at CUA Stadium. Referee: S Clark Crowd: 11, 325. Penalties: Manly 13-12 Kicks: Penrith 21-17 Line Breaks: Manly 5-4 - Read More, Here