Cleary conquers Cowboys as Panthers win at Pepper

Stuart Thomas Columnist

By Stuart Thomas, 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.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • August 13th 2017 @ 12:34am
      Albo said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:34am | ! Report

      Not sure I have ever seen a team that can play so consistently well below their potential all year , and yet still win 10 out of their last 12 matches. Nathan Cleary has a lot to do with keeping the Panthers alive in the finals race and he got them home again tonight. With outstanding defence and continued attacking development, he is surely knocking on Laurie’s door for NSW selection next year. As a veteran of just 4 years of rugby league, the teenager is carrying this Panthers side and its high time the rest lifted their games to keep up with him. 12 errors apart from the half a dozen butchered tries, yet again, is just not good enough at this stage of the season.

      • August 13th 2017 @ 8:26am
        kk said | August 13th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report


        I think your team is back on track. There were times when they moved like a formidable
        Penrith Panzer division and at other times feasted like hungry panthers on the carcass
        of NQ Cowboy. Last night they displayed real attitude, a commodity most welcome.

        There was an element of luck (or Hess bad luck) and Nathan is making a habit of being in
        the right place at the right time which impresses the opposition to stop and stare in wonder.

        With Raiders, Dragons and Manly to go it will not be easy but Penrith will make the Eight

      • August 13th 2017 @ 9:35am
        Jimmmy said | August 13th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

        Well done Albo , you guys deserved the win. You have a gun in Cleary . The stop on Hess was incredible. Usually four guys can’t stop him so Cleary’s effort was exceptional. See you in the finals.

      • Roar Guru

        August 13th 2017 @ 9:57am
        Renegade said | August 13th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        There’s a team this year that have played consistently below their potential and still sitting above the panthers on the ladder, being the reigning premiers… so yes have seen a team do it.

        I think Panthers will get there and ultimately it will come down to the game against the dragons at home… destiny in their hands now.

        On the other hand I think the Cowboys might be in trouble… and could go from being top 4 candidates to missing the 8 altogether now.

    • August 13th 2017 @ 11:39am
      Brian S said | August 13th 2017 @ 11:39am | ! Report

      You have 1 article that says panthers beat injury depleted cowboys!! then another article that praises the panthers & say how far can they go?;)
      ! thing i bet the panthers are glad they DON”T have to play the knight till next year;)!!

    • August 13th 2017 @ 12:49pm
      no one in particular said | August 13th 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

      The team is still absolutely clueless inside the opp. 20

    • August 13th 2017 @ 7:33pm
      Rob said | August 13th 2017 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

      The Panthers will make the 8 but only on the back of a charmed draw. They certainly need to improve a hell of a lot to trouble anyone else making the 8. The Raider may be unlucky not having turned a couple of close results into wins earlier in the season, because they look far more threatening right now in my opinion.
      The Cowboys were brave in defeat but they have so many injuries now that they will be luck to limp into the 8.

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