Nathan Cleary, backing up from his origin debut, kicked the winning field-goal to help Penrith Panthers beat Canberra Raiders 23-22.
Penrith were in firm control early. A Tyrone Peachey try and two James Maloney penalties had them 8-0 with Canberra starved of possession.
But as soon as Canberra had any field position, they scored. Blake Austin found Nick Cotric on the wing who spun and planted the ball down.
With Kaide Ellis in the bin for the second time in his short career, Canberra levelled up the scores at half-time.
Just before Ellis returned, Maloney ensured the Panthers restored their two-point lead.
But Jordan Rapana’s try gave the Raiders the lead when Tyrone Peachey dropped the ball and the ball was shifted quickly to the winger.
With Ata Hingano now on the wing and Elliott Whitehead in the centres, the Raiders extended their lead. Josh Papalii flicked a pass out to Whitehead.
The Panthers finally took advantage of Hingano playing out of position. The hooker thought a kick was coming and was caught out of position when the ball was passed wide to Peachey.
After Saliva Havili missed a field goal attempt, the Panthers went up the other end for Dean Whare to score. Maloney’s conversion levelled the scores with four to go. Cleary then won it for Penrith with his first ever field goal in the NRL.
Raiders: Wighton, Cotric, Croker, Leilua, Rapana, Austin, Sezer, Lui, Havili, Boyd, Soliola, Whitehead, Papalii; Interchanges: Hingano, Bateman, Gubb, Knight
Tries: Cotric, Rapana, Whitehead; Goals: Croker 5
Panthers: Watene-Zelezniak, Crichton, Peachey, Whare, Phillips, Maloney, Cleary, Merrin, Katoa, Campbell-Gillard, Harawira-Naera, Yeo, Fisher-Harris; Interchanges: Egan, Ellis, Kikau, Tamou
Tries: Peachey 2, Whare; Goals: Maloney 5; Field-goal: Cleary (78)
Sin-bin: Ellis (34) – repeated offences
Full match report of this game and the NRL scoreboard will be available in Monday’s League Express.