Cleary the golden-point hero for below-par Panthers

Nathan Cleary kicked a crucial conversion and a field goal in golden point to seal a 9-8 victory for Penrith Panthers over Wests Tigers.

After Josh Mansour’s foot on the touchline denied the Panthers an early try, James Maloney opened the scoring for Penrith with the boot. Wests had the chance to level the game up through Esan Marsters’ penalty attempt from in front but the centre failed to take it.

But his teammates saved him when only a few minutes later, Josh Reynolds fed a kick through for Corey Thompson to score. Then after the break, Reynolds again was on hand to kick for Ryan Matterson and Wests second try.

In the rest of the second half, it looked like neither side wanted to win the game with errors aplenty. But finally, the Panthers scored their first try in two games with one minute to go. After two forced dropouts, Dylan Edwards stepped inside off the right wing to score. Nathan Cleary kicked the conversion from the touchline to send it to golden point and then kept his cool again to kick the winning field goal.

Panthers: Edwards, Mansour, Whare, Blake, Watene-Zelezniak, Maloney, Cleary, Tamou, Katoa, Campbell-Gillard, Winterstein, Yeo, Fisher-Harris; Interchanges: Kikau, Egan, Leota, Sele
Tries: Edwards; Goals: Maloney, Cleary; Field goal: Cleary

Tigers: Mbye, Fonua, Jennings, Marsters, Thompson, Reynolds, Brooks, Matulino, Farah, Twal, Matterson, Garner, Taylor; Interchanges: Packer, Aloiai, Chee-Kam, Eisenhuth
Tries: Thompson, Matterson

Full match reports from all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.