Cleary conquers Cowboys as Panthers win at Pepper

Stuart Thomas Columnist

By , Stuart Thomas is a Roar Expert

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    In a great advertisement for Rugby League, the Penrith Panthers have held off the North Queensland Cowboys at Pepper Stadium.

    Excellent completion rate and a low error count in the first forty set up the finale for the Panthers, as the Cowboys eventually ran out of gas after an immense defensive effort.

    Despite trailing throughout the first half, the Panthers always seemed to have the weapons to finish off a brave Cowboys team who were once again hit with key injuries.

    Michael Morgan was perhaps the best player on the field in the first half and his loss just prior to half-time set the Cowboys up for a challenging defensive effort in the second.

    The earlier loss of representative centre Justin O’Neill only compounded their struggles and despite the powerful forward drive in the second half by the Panthers, one couldn’t help sympathise with a depleted Cowboys team.

    Nathan Cleary was outstanding for the Panthers. If Cleary isn’t the best half-back in NSW then I need a good lie down and a bex.

    His speed, skill and dexterity in attack is outstanding – Matt Moylan played well in his return, but one can’t help think that the wrong young Panther has been selected for the Blues in recent times.

    Reagan Campbell-Gillard was a force up front and Isaah Yeo supported him well.

    For the Cowboys, Jason Taumalolo was his usual self and as damaging as ever. Kane Linnett played strongly and Lachlan Coote tried hard in what eventually became a battle of attrition in which the Cowboys were low on troops.

    The Panthers win their sixth straight and move into the top six, whereas the Cowboys slump to their third straight loss and look in danger of missing the eight considering their horrific injury toll.

    Stuart Thomas
    Stuart Thomas

    Stuart Thomas is a sports writer and educator who made the jump from Roar Guru to Expert in 2017. An ex-trainee professional golfer, his sporting passions are broad with particular interests in football, AFL and rugby league. His love of sport is only matched by his passion for gardening and self-sustainability. Follow him on Twitter @stuartthomas72.