Lachlan Coote’s golden-point field aim sealed a dramatic 13-12 win for the Panthers above St George Illawarra in Monday’s night’s encounter at in Penrith.
The win ended a run of eight successive property defeats for the Panthers, stretching back to round 19 last year, and vindicated Ivan Cleary’s controversial decision to dump NSW centre Michael Jennings to reserve grade.
The hosts laid the foundations for the win with two tries in as several very first-half minutes from Ryan Simpkins and Kevin Kingston as the Dragons, who were without injured 5-eighth Jamie Soward, failed to fire in attack, just as they did in last week’s 30-6 loss to North Queensland.
Simpkins put the hosts in front with his initial ever NRL consider after 18 minutes immediately after excellent operate out of dummy-half from Kingston.
Kingston then doubled the lead in almost identical style, darting over from close array in front of the posts, enabling Blake Austin to kick his second goal of the game.
The Dragons finally troubled the scorers 13 minutes from time when Jake Marketo put the finishing touches to a well-worked move and Kyle Stanley added the extras to halve the deficit.
Mitch Rein then additional a 2nd five minutes from time immediately after Dayne Weston was penalised for placing his hands in the ball as the Panthers desperately tried to repel the rapidly finishing Dragons.
Ben Hornby failed with a area aim for the Dragons in the extra period, but fullback Coote created no error with a 25-metre work to delight the property crowd and seal a very first win in six games for the Panthers.
Dragons coach Steve Price’s miserable evening was compounded by a serious looking knee injury to Michael Weyman, who was carried off after making a tackle on Josh Mansour early in the 2nd half.
Utility Nathan Fien also limped off in the final minute of standard time leaving forcing prop Dan Hunt to fill the playmaker function in golden point.
Cleary remained tight-lipped on no matter whether Jennings, who was named in the NSW side for next week’s State of Origin opener in Melbourne, would be in a position to regain his place, but mentioned he wasn’t stunned Blues coach Ricky Stuart called on his providers.
“I want him all the best and hope he does effectively next week,” Cleary said of his absent star.
“Ricky stated that he has picked a side to score factors and he certainly can do that so it did not actually shock me.”
The former Warriors mentor also denied his choice to axe Jennings had been a wake-up get in touch with to the rest of his squad and stated it was only a matter of time until finally they ended their wretched run of results.
“Our boys have been trying tough each and every week and it was going to come correct at some stage,” he stated.
“We have been down on a bit of self-confidence and even though we didn’t get as significantly ball as we would have liked in the initial half, it was almost certainly a very good point to win that way.”
Dragons coach Steve Price tag admitted he was frustrated with a poor selection by Mitch Rein that led to a promising move breaking down when the visitors were chasing the win with two minutes remaining.
“We had an opportunity late in the game where we went left when the ball should have gone appropriate,” Price tag said.
Skipper Ben Hornby produced his feelings known to Rein on the area in no uncertain terms but said the hooker would understand from his problems.
“We had all the momentum going into added time but produced a poor play in regular time and gave away a stupid penalty, but you can’t play properly for (only) 20 minutes and count on to win the game.”
Value also mentioned Weyman and Fien will undergo scans on their knee injuries on Tuesday.