Sunday 18 March 2018 / 04:56 AM


The Penrith Panthers performed yet another remarkable escape act, while the Canberra Raiders found a new way to lose a cliff-hanger in a Saturday night thriller at Bathurst.

The Panthers trailed 20-12 with less than two minutes on the clock, before skipper Matt Moylan – relishing his new role at five-eighth – laid on two stunning tries to conjure an astonishing 24-20 victory.

Moylan put boom back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera through a hole and the rookie ran around Raiders fullback Jack Wighton to give the ‘home’ side a glimmer of hope. The mercurial playmaker then offloaded brilliantly to send Tyrone Peachey away for the match-winner with just 20 seconds showing on the timepiece.

Down and out with a 2-7 record before the representative weekend break, the Panthers climbed into the top eight with their fourth straight win – three of which required big comebacks after falling behind the Warriors, Knights and now the Raiders.

A despondent Ricky Stuart was left lamenting another game his Canberra side bottled after seemingly having the two points in the bag. Six of their eight losses in 2017 have come by six points or less, including three golden-point heart-breakers.

Earlier on Super Saturday, the enigmatic New Zealand Warriors produced arguably their most comprehensive performance of the season – and their first away victory of 2017 – courtesy of a 34-12 thumping of the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium.

The Warriors led 24-4 at the break on the back of Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran’s ball-playing class, and dug in during the second stanza as Jarryd Hayne attempted to inspire a comeback.

The win was soured somewhat for the visitors as Foran was assisted from the field with a leg injury, but back-up pivot Ata Hingano starred during his brief time on the field with some excellent touches and a try in the dying stages.

The news was worse for the Titans, who were celebrating 10 years in the premiership, as Kane Elgey (sternum), Konrad Hurrell (ankle) and Kane Lawton (shoulder) all failed to finish the match. Meanwhile, Queensland hopeful Jarrod Wallace may have ruined his impending Origin call-up after shoulder-charging Blake Ayshford at the end of the first half.

Johnathan Thurston, wearing the unfamiliar No.19 jumper, made a sensational return from a shoulder injury in North Queensland’s rampant 32-6 defeat of Parramatta in Darwin.

Thurston produced three try assists and scored one himself to make Blues players and fans more than a little nervous ahead of game two, while Kyle Feldt bagged a double and explosive back-rower Coen Hess enhanced his Maroons claims with his 10th try of the season and some punishing work in defence.

[YouTube – NRL Hub]

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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