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Penrith Panthers edge Gold Coast Titans in gripping contest

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Panthers hold on against Titans

The Panthers down the table topping Titans in a two-point thriller.

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Penrith's gutsy 14-12 victory over the table-topping Titans could be overshadowed by accusations that Titans co-captain Greg Bird performed a "squirrel grip" on Penrith's Sika Manu on Monday night.

The incident in the 75th minute wasn't placed on report, with the penalty going to the Titans after Manu retaliated to the tackle from Bird.

Replays showed Bird's hand was around the groin region, but despite a protest from the Panthers - in which co-captain Peter Wallace said "he grabbed him on the nuts", a lack of evidence prevented Bird from being penalised or placed on report.

'He grabbed him on the nuts': Penrith skipper Peter Wallace and Sika Manu argue with the referee after an apparently wayward tackle by Greg Bird.

'He grabbed him on the nuts': Penrith skipper Peter Wallace and Sika Manu argue with the referee after an apparently wayward tackle by Greg Bird.

Time
80.00
Team
PEN
Score
14
Team
GCT
Score
12
Penrith versus Gold Coast
View Match Statistics
Players Whare, Moylan Tries 2 Tries 2 Players James, Sezer
Players Soward 2/2 (100%) Conversions 2 Conversions 2 Players Sezer 2/2 (100%)
Players Soward 1/1 (100%) Penalty goals 1 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Field goals 0 Field goals 0 Players

Despite a late comeback from the Titans, the Panthers held on through a nervous final set of six to notch their fourth victory of the season.

It was a barnstorming Jamal Idris who tormented his former teammates, inspiring his new club to a thrilling two-point victory over the top-of-the-table Titans on Monday night.

Idris, who was granted a release from the Titans to join the Panthers in the preseason, was back to his destructive best at Sportingbet Stadium as the Panthers returned to the top eight with a gutsy victory on home soil.

Bragging rights: Penrith centre Jamal Idris enjoyed a victory against his former club.

Bragging rights: Penrith centre Jamal Idris enjoyed a victory against his former club.

Fellow recruit Jamie Soward was just as influential, playing a hand in both of his side's tries and kicking three from three with the boot, including a penalty goal early in the second half that proved the difference.

Trailing by eight with three minutes remaining, Titans five-eighth Aiden Sezer set up a dramatic finish when he cleaned up the spoils that Matt Moylan failed to clear, converting his own try to reduce the deficit to just two points.

While the Panthers allowed the Titans a golden opportunity to snatch the two points with a forward pass in the final minute, they held their nerve in defence to secure the win.

Black magic: Dean Whare goes over for the first try of the night for the Panthers

Black magic: Dean Whare goes over for the first try of the night for the Panthers

The Titans came to the foot of the mountains with an opportunity to maintain their one-game lead at the top of the ladder, but the loss leaves them in equal first position with the Bulldogs, Wests Tigers and Sea Eagles.

The win lifts Penrith to eight points with four other teams, just two points behind the competition's pacesetters.

In front of 9555 fans at Sportingbet Stadium, the Panthers were the first to score, with Soward holding it up long enough to put Dean Whare over in the corner after eight minutes.

The second try came in a far more unorthodox fashion, with a Soward grubber fumbled in goal by David Mead, before Paul Carter kicked it away from an oncoming Soward, only to find Matt Moylan.

Soward played a hand in both of his side's first half tries, and looked like he'd send his his team into the break with a 12-0 advantage with two from two with the boot.

However, the Titans hit back on the stroke of half-time after Ryan James crashed over from close range, although replays showed that Kevin Kingston might have held the ball up.

Leading 12-6 to start the second half, it looked like the Panthers five-eighth had again inflicted some damage, only for the video referee to intervene and deem Soward had knocked on when he punched the ball out of the hands of Carter and cleaned up the spoils.

But it wasn't a complete waste, with the video referee awarding a penalty to the Panthers after Idris was taken out by Brad Takairangi trying to contest a Wallace bomb, gifting Soward another two points.

Titans prop Matt White was then placed on report in the 61st minute for a lifting tackle that placed Panthers lock Adam Docker in a dangerous position.

The penalty put the Panthers deep on the attack and despite Tyrone Peachey forcing a repeat set, the Panthers couldn't put their opponents to bed.

Sezer's late try gave the Titans a chance but they couldn't penetrate the Penrith defence.

6 comments so far

  • It's time for the Panthers to relocate to Perth or Adelaide. 9000 people showing up on a public holiday is not befitting a "national" competition. They simply dont have enough support in Penrith to turn up. When the Panthers start losing again, the attendance will drop down to less than 5000. Relocate - or perish.

    Commenter
    Realist
    Date and time
    April 21, 2014, 10:09PM
    • Bird's supposed squirrel grip was delivered with the same amount of intent as George Burgess's ... NIL.

      Commenter
      RTP
      Location
      Sawtell
      Date and time
      April 21, 2014, 10:18PM
      • George Burgess, when did this occur? Sam Burgess was convicted of a squirrel grip last year however I wasn't aware his brother did.

        Commenter
        jmccar15
        Date and time
        April 21, 2014, 10:38PM
      • My mistake Sam not George

        Commenter
        RTP
        Location
        Sawtell
        Date and time
        April 22, 2014, 7:35AM
    • Gutsy win from the Panthers, despite the ref's efforts to gift it to the Titans. Wallace best on park by a mile.

      Commenter
      Spidey
      Date and time
      April 21, 2014, 10:25PM
      • Nice play on words Michael - gripping contest and all. There didn't look like there was any intent in that action by Bird, his hand just happened to be grabbing that part of the body to affect the tackle. Storm in a teacup.

        Commenter
        Big Roach
        Location
        London
        Date and time
        April 22, 2014, 6:00AM

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