Panthers push past Manly, next stop Suncorp

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

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    The Penrith Panthers have booked their spot in the semi-finals with a controversial victory over the Manly Sea Eagles at the Sydney Football Stadium.

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    Manly became the first team to be knocked out of the 2017 finals series, but it wasn’t without a decision at the end which will leave fans bitter.

    With the score locked at ten points all approaching the final five minutes, Bryce Cartwright put in a grubber kick at the line. It deflected off a Manly player’s leg, into the chest, leg and possibly hand of Tyrone Peachey.

    He went on to score, with the bunker ruling the ball didn’t touch his hand on the way forward. It meant the green lights came up, and the Panthers came up with victory on the back of it.

    Despite the controversy, Manly were their own worst enemies. It was a scrappy affair, and they came up with 13 errors throughout, including two in the last five minutes.

    Following the Peachey try, Manly forced a dropout off the kick-off, but a Taupau pass that travelled backwards left Daly Cherry-Evans under pressure and unable to get a kick away.

    Inside the final two minutes, a clearing kick from Nathan Cleary was put down under no pressure by Akuilla Uate, ending Manly’s season with a Bryce Cartwright try putting the icing on the cake.

    While Penrith got some luck at the end, they looked to be the better team for much of the match. There was no sign of a repeat of the sides’ Round 26 game, when Manly intimidated Penrith off the park.

    Instead, the Panthers’ forwards held their own early in the contest. It was penalty goals at either end of the first half for the men from the foot of the mountains, with a try each in between, leaving them up 10-4 at halftime.

    Dylan Walker had the opener for Manly, before Cartwright crashed over for the first of his two tries.

    Lewis Brown scored 22 minutes after halftime to get the game on level terms, but the battle continued to be waged in the middle, with neither team able to break away.

    The Panthers will now travel to Brisbane next week, where they play the Broncos in a sudden-death semi-final.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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