Infotainment Factory: Panthers halves 'punch holes' in Roosters

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Sunday, 9 June 2019

Panthers halves 'punch holes' in Roosters


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James Maloney has staked a claim for a State of Origin recall after engineering Penrith to a desperate 19-10 NRL upset of a depleted Sydney Roosters.

Just days after NSW lost the series opener without him, Maloney set up all three of the Panthers' tries on Sunday in a vintage display alongside halfback Nathan Cleary.

Last year's Blues five-eighth might come into calculations for Origin II in Perth as coach Brad Fittler searches for ways to send the series to a decider. And the 32-year-old reminded selectors of his worth with a man-of-the-match effort.

He iced his performance, which included a critical 40-20, with a late field goal.

Cleary too was on song fresh of Origin duties, and though he was in doubt, as soon as fulltime of Game 1 in Brisbane, the Penrith half knew he'd be playing Sunday.

"It's been a pretty big week. Disappointed on Wednesday night but really good to get a win like that against a top Roosters side," Cleary said after the game.

"Dad [Panthers coach Ivan Cleary] said straight after the game [1 of State of Origin], 'Are you alright?'

"After an Origin game you're pretty sore but didn't have anything too overwhelming so I said, 'Yeh sweet, I'm good to go'."

Viliame Kikau (left) and Nathan Cleary of the Panthers celebrate

Cleary said the Panthers have finally clicked into gear following a disappointing start to the season.

"I think it's mainly attitude," Cleary said.

"That's one thing we've nailed down and addressed - our start to the season and why it was so bad."

The no.7 said it was positive to be finding his rhythm again with five-eighth Maloney.

"I thought it was good today. We were combining well, talking well and he was back to his best punching holes," Cleary said.

"We had a few weeks there where things weren't working," Maloney said.

"But we work hard and things are building. We're still not exactly where we need to be and it's a hard win against a good Roosters side even though they were missing a bit of star-power."

The Roosters were in the contest for the opening hour despite being without Latrell Mitchell, Angus Crichton, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Luke Keary.

But, with his team holding a delicate two-point lead with 20 minutes remaining, Maloney grubbered on a dime for rookie Brent Naden to claim a crucial try

The defeat for the defending premiers was their third in succession - their longest losing streak in three years - although they remain in third spot.

Playing in front of their biggest crowd of the year, the Panthers flew off the blocks when Maloney put a barnstorming Viliame Kikau over in the second minute.

Kikau muscles over for Penrith

They should've doubled the advantage when Dylan Edwards broke into the backfield, but threw his pass forward to a supporting Cleary.

A signature Daniel Tupou try in the corner reduced the deficit to two points at halftime.

The game turned when Joseph Manu was sin-binned for a professional foul in the 48th minute, and Kikau crossed for his second not long after.

Tupou scores in the corner

Despite being down a man, the Roosters responded through Victor Radley.

But Maloney sealed the win with a field goal in the closing stages, and the Panthers held on for their third-straight victory.

James Maloney has staked a claim for a State of Origin recall after engineering Penrith to a desperate 19-10 NRL upset of a depleted Sydney Roosters.

Just days after NSW lost the series opener without him, Maloney set up all three of the Panthers' tries on Sunday in a vintage display alongside halfback Nathan Cleary.

Last year's Blues five-eighth might come into calculations for Origin II in Perth as coach Brad Fittler searches for ways to send the series to a decider. And the 32-year-old reminded selectors of his worth with a man-of-the-match effort.

He iced his performance, which included a critical 40-20, with a late field goal.

Cleary too was on song fresh of Origin duties, and though he was in doubt, as soon as fulltime of Game 1 in Brisbane, the Penrith half knew he'd be playing Sunday.

"It's been a pretty big week. Disappointed on Wednesday night but really good to get a win like that against a top Roosters side," Cleary said after the game.

"Dad [Panthers coach Ivan Cleary] said straight after the game [1 of State of Origin], 'Are you alright?'

"After an Origin game you're pretty sore but didn't have anything too overwhelming so I said, 'Yeh sweet, I'm good to go'."

Viliame Kikau (left) and Nathan Cleary of the Panthers celebrate

Cleary said the Panthers have finally clicked into gear following a disappointing start to the season.

"I think it's mainly attitude," Cleary said.

"That's one thing we've nailed down and addressed - our start to the season and why it was so bad."

The no.7 said it was positive to be finding his rhythm again with five-eighth Maloney.

"I thought it was good today. We were combining well, talking well and he was back to his best punching holes," Cleary said.

"We had a few weeks there where things weren't working," Maloney said.

"But we work hard and things are building. We're still not exactly where we need to be and it's a hard win against a good Roosters side even though they were missing a bit of star-power."

The Roosters were in the contest for the opening hour despite being without Latrell Mitchell, Angus Crichton, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Luke Keary.

But, with his team holding a delicate two-point lead with 20 minutes remaining, Maloney grubbered on a dime for rookie Brent Naden to claim a crucial try

The defeat for the defending premiers was their third in succession - their longest losing streak in three years - although they remain in third spot.

Playing in front of their biggest crowd of the year, the Panthers flew off the blocks when Maloney put a barnstorming Viliame Kikau over in the second minute.

Kikau muscles over for Penrith

They should've doubled the advantage when Dylan Edwards broke into the backfield, but threw his pass forward to a supporting Cleary.

A signature Daniel Tupou try in the corner reduced the deficit to two points at halftime.

The game turned when Joseph Manu was sin-binned for a professional foul in the 48th minute, and Kikau crossed for his second not long after.

Tupou scores in the corner

Despite being down a man, the Roosters responded through Victor Radley.

But Maloney sealed the win with a field goal in the closing stages, and the Panthers held on for their third-straight victory.

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