AAP Rugby

Panthers snatch golden-point NRL victory

By AAP Newswire

Penrith have snatched a miraculous 17-16 golden point comeback win over Gold Coast to salvage victory in a dramatic week that began with the sacking of head coach Anthony Griffin.

Trailing 16-6, Penrith scored two tries in the final five minutes before Nathan Cleary missed what would have been the winning conversion after the fulltime siren.

Cleary's first field goal attempt in golden point flew just under the crossbar but he made sure of it on his second effort to complete their third-straight comeback victory.

The Panthers, under interim coach Cameron Ciraldo, looked impatient as the hosts built a 16-6 lead.

The NSW Origin halfback had a chance to win after the fulltime siren but missed a regulation conversion after Dallin Watene-Zelezniak streaked away for a final-minute try.

Cleary's try five minutes earlier have given them hope, but the Titans' defence held firm to seemingly see off another comeback until Penrith broke through with the final play of the game.

It capped a turbulent week for Cleary, whose father and Wests Tigers coach Ivan had been linked to a Penrith return after Griffin's axing.

"I didn't feel at the time they were playing well enough," Ciraldo said.

"But I'm so pleased for the bloke next to me to win it for us after the week he's had."

The last-gasp win keeps them on track with the top four and saved their blushes after what was day to forget before the final five minutes of regular time.

Anthony Don's 90m intercept try looked to have been enough for the Titans as the Panthers completed at just 65 per cent in a game that was interrupted by errors.

In a passage that summed up proceedings, Tyrone Peachey caught a pass while standing behind the deadball line, only for them to find touch from the ensuing drop out and then knock on in the first tackle after the scrum.

Both sides probed with limited success, aside from early tries to Ryan James and Waqa Blake that left them deadlocked 6-6 at halftime.

Jack Hetherington was reported and sin-binned for a swinging arm to the jaw of AJ Brimson just before halftime.

Brimson shifted to fullback after a potentially season-ending wrist injury ruled Michael Gordon out with five-eighth Kane Elgey returning to the side for the first time since the seventh round.

"I thought they (Titans) were the better team to be honest," a gutted Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan said.

"It's another bump in the road, but it's the journey we're on ... that won't kill us."