South Sydney won a thrilling game tonight at Pepper Stadium, with a field-goal seconds from time from Adam Reynolds securing a 21-20 victory over Penrith Panthers.
The Panthers had come into the game without three players – captain Matt Moylan, Waqa Blake and Peta Hiku – who had been dropped for “breaking team protocol”.
The Rabbitohs took an early 8-0 lead with a penalty from Adam Reynolds and a Sam Burgess try under the sticks that Reynolds goaled.
Malakai Watene-Zelezniak then scored for the Panthers on his debut, taking the final pass from his brother Dallin. Cleary added the goal.
Corey Harawria put the Tigers ahead on 28 minutes, with Cleary kicking the goal and adding a penalty four minutes later to make it 14-8.
But the Rabbitohs struck back with a try from Cody Walker four minutes before half-time and Reynolds goal levelled the scores at the break.
The Rabbitohs came out for the second half and scored early with a try and goal to Reynolds after more great work by Walker.
Former Catalans Dragons star Michael Oldfield scored in the corner for Penrith after great work by Dean Whare, and a great conversion from Cleary levelled the scores at 20-20 with four minutes to go.
But after that the Panthers couldn’t get within field-goal range and instead it was Reynolds who landed the crucial score with a field goal from 30 metres out in the final minute of the game.
Panthers: 1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Michael Oldfield, 3 Dean Whare, 4 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 5 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, 6 Te-Maire Martin, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 James Tamou, 9 Peter Wallace, 10 Regan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Corey Harawria, 12 Issah Yeo, 13 Trent Merrin; Interchange: 14 Moses Leota, 15 Leilani Latu, 17 Sitaleki Akauola, 18 Siona Katoa.
Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Braidon Burns, 3 Siosifa Talakai, 4 Robert Jennings, 5 Bryson Goodwin, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Kyle Turner, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess; Interchange: 14 Robbie Farah, 15 Jason Clark, 16 Zane Musgrove, 18 George Burgess.
A full review of all the weekend’s NRL action will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express