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Silver lining for silvertails but concerns remain

Manly 26 Penrith 38

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Plucky Panthers overrun ordinary Sea Eagles

Penrith finished their season in style after breaching fortress Brookvale to overpower Manly.

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As a warm-up for a final against minor premiers Sydney Roosters, Manly's performance was poor. The silver lining, of course, is that the Sea Eagles will have an extra day to recover from their loss, in time for a date with the Roosters; a win would have given them a Friday night final against South Sydney.

Yet the performance of the Sea Eagles so close to the finals will be a concern to the side and their coach Geoff Toovey. If Friday night's encounter between the Roosters and the Rabbitohs had the intensity of heavy metal this was closer to a whale song. Credit should go to the Panthers, who were fired up for their own finale.

The Sea Eagles, of course, will hope to get some talent back in their squad for the final. But they were rather sluggish. The Brookvale farewells for Brent Kite - who is joining Penrith next season - and George Rose - fell distinctly flat, as Penrith's departing players Luke Walsh, Lachlan Coote, Clint Newton and Mose Masoe starred.

Cool hand Luke: Panthers halfback Luke Walsh gets an offload away during Penrith's win over Manly at Brookvale Oval.

Cool hand Luke: Panthers halfback Luke Walsh gets an offload away during Penrith's win over Manly at Brookvale Oval. Photo: Getty Images

Time
80.00
Team
MAN
Score
26
Team
PEN
Score
38
Manly versus Penrith
View Match Statistics
Players Gutherson, Williams(2), Cherry-Evans, Matai Tries 5 Tries 6 Players Walsh, Segeyaro, Mansour, Newton, Whare, Masoe
Players Lyon 3/5 (60%) Conversions 3 Conversions 6 Players Walsh 5/5 (100%), Newton 1/1 (100%)
Players Penalty goals 0 Penalty goals 1 Players Walsh 1/1 (100%)
Players Field goals 0 Field goals 0 Players

At times, the Sea Eagles looked good. They took a few minutes to get going but when they did they put some points on quickly. Daly Cherry-Evans' ninth-minute 40-20 put the Sea Eagles on the attack and they capitalised through debutant winger Clinton Gutherson, who scored with just his second touch in the NRL.

His first touch resulted in a slip as he made a kick-return, but he made no mistake after 10 minutes.

The Sea Eagles' second try came with Penrith on the attack. As the Panthers looked for the response, Luke Walsh's ball to centre Brad Tighe fell loose, allowing Manly's right winger David Williams to run 85 metres to score. By the 24th minute, the Sea Eagles were well in control after Cherry-Evans stepped his way through some poor defence to score.

But then the Sea Eagles took their foot off the pedal, and the Panthers did belatedly respond. Walsh grubbered for fullback Lachlan Coote, who then sent the ball back to the halfback for the try. Interchange hooker James Segarayo skipped through some flimsy goal-line defence and the Panthers were well in the contest at the half-time break.

Just three minutes after play resumed the Panthers had the lead. Winger Josh Mansour did superbly to score in the corner, and Walsh's conversion from touch suddenly had the Sea Eagles suddenly facing the Roosters next weekend.

After 54 minutes, some smart work down Manly's left side gave Matai a try, having worked a one-two with Gutherson. But the Panthers were in a resilient mood. Forward Clint Newton busted through the Manly defence close to the Sea Eagles' goal-line - after Rose had conceded a penalty following a shoulder charge on Sam McKendry - and Walsh extended the lead to a converted try with a penalty goal just 10 minutes remaining.

Manly hit back almost immediately through Williams' second in the 73rd minute. Lyon's sideline conversion levelled the scores. But it was the Panthers who lifted when it mattered most. Their second-last try was a beauty, full of desperate flair, ending with Walsh's kick wide for Dean Whare. Mose Masoe, who had ruffled some feathers early in an altercation with James Hasson - the latter appearing to drop his knee into the Panthers forward - had the last laugh, scoring the final try to rub it in.

The Sea Eagles still have next week to think of, but this is the wrong time to stumble.

PENRITH 38 (J Mansour M Masoe C Newton J Segeyaro L Walsh D Whare tries L Walsh 6 C Newton goals) bt MANLY 26 (D Williams 2 D Cherry-Evans C Gutherson S Matai tries J Lyon 3 goals) at Brookvale Oval. Referee: Adam Devcich, Phil Haines. Crowd: 12,090.

13 comments so far

  • If I was a Manly fan I wouldn't be worried. This weekend has shown that if nothing rides on the result then we're gunna get a round of upsets. Actually, I'll amend that. Being a Manly fan would make me wonder about my life choices. Not about the team though.

    Commenter
    mutt
    Date and time
    September 08, 2013, 5:00PM
    • Proud of my Panthers boys today! They've had a great season and silenced some doubters. Great game.

      Commenter
      Spidey
      Date and time
      September 08, 2013, 5:34PM
      • Please. Manly weren't playing to win.

        Commenter
        Jace
        Date and time
        September 08, 2013, 9:03PM
      • Sour grapes? Mate, don't tell me how to feel about my team, I'm proud of their season, and shame on you for trying to minimise another team based on nothing at all. Manly were out-played today. Watmough and Stewart are not the entire team. If you think they took a dive, then why support them? Hardly admirable.

        Commenter
        Spidey
        Date and time
        September 09, 2013, 1:40PM
    • Tanking anyone?

      Commenter
      Stevo
      Location
      Roosterville
      Date and time
      September 08, 2013, 5:39PM
      • Prefer to see 17 players Tanking than Twerking!

        Commenter
        Could be worse
        Date and time
        September 08, 2013, 6:59PM
      • Not possible. That wouldn't be in the spirit of the game {for whatever that means} and would be a blatant manipulation of the results to benefit one team. That would almost be match fixing. Again, not possible. By the way, have you ever heard of something called a 'Peptide'? No?

        Commenter
        mutt
        Date and time
        September 08, 2013, 7:35PM
      • 100% Tanking, resting players to get an extra days rest and Saturday instead of Friday, playing an understrength Roosters and knowing the results before they play knowing who they would and wouldn't play is a clear case of providing an excuse for the loss. If only the Rabbits and Roosters had such a luxury on Friday Night but did the right thing by their fans and rugby league in general. There needs to be some scrutiny around these scenarios. Right know I am as mad as Geoff Toovey when things don't go his way but this is clear tanking not referee decisions making.

        Commenter
        chrisk
        Location
        Matto
        Date and time
        September 08, 2013, 7:49PM
      • Maybe, just maybe, Geoff thought he could field an under strength side and rest some of his injured players and if they could win with his 'B' side then he could still have a fresh line-up for the play offs. If they didn't win then he still was able to rest his injured players and earn an extra days grace. Who knows what his thinking was….but either way he did what he had to do and now we will see if his gamble has paid off! I think Geoff knows what he is doing and made the right choices for his team!

        Commenter
        Rockford
        Location
        Manly
        Date and time
        September 08, 2013, 9:55PM
    • Funny that, the storm and cronk tried their hardest to lose. The sea eagles actually managed to 'lose' to the mighty panthers at home, all this after the bunnies were confirmed second. If I were a punter I would not be happy. Take note nrl. All games in the final round should start at the same time.

      Commenter
      AN
      Date and time
      September 08, 2013, 6:04PM

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