Penrith stretches winning streak - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Penrith stretches winning streak

By Sharon Mathieson 17/05/2003 09:39:46 PM Comments (0)

Penrith stretched its winning streak to five games tonight when it fought back to beat competition leader Canberra 26-18 in their National Rugby League clash at Canberra Stadium.

The visitors handed the Raiders back-to-back defeats and ensured Canberra would lose its grip on the competition lead should Brisbane beat Melbourne at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

The Panthers appeared to have had the game sewn up at the halftime break with a 14-0 lead but an ear-bashing by Raiders coach Matt Elliott ensured his team came out firing in the second half.

One commentator who listened to the Canberra coach address his troops at the break said on a rating of one to 10, Elliott's anger reached 11.

For a while, it seemed to have worked.

Canberra gave away a penalty in the opening few minutes of the second half when fullback Clinton Schifcofske failed to correctly play the ball.

But the Raiders took advantage of Penrith's failure to find touch, with centre Phil Graham sending forward Tyran Smith across the line to score.

Four minutes later, halfback Brad Drew and five-eighth Mark McLinden set winger Jamaal Lolesi up for Canberra's second try.

Graham crossed for a spectacular 70m solo try in the 63rd minute after ducking and weaving across the field to score.

Schifcofske converted the try to give Canberra an 18-14 lead.

But the Raiders hadn't counted on winger Luke Rooney scoring a 50m try in the 69th minute to lock the scores.

Five-eighth Preston Campbell continued his perfect goal kicking record for the match to put Penrith back in the lead.

With two minutes left on the clock, centre Paul Whatuira crossed for his second try of the night off a Rhys Wesser grubber kick.

Campbell finalised the score at 26-18 with his fifth goal of the night.

The five-eighth opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a penalty goal and added another two points after Whatuira scored the first try of the night in the 32nd minute when he forced himself over Canberra's line as Raiders skipper Simon Woolford tackled him.

Panthers reserve forward Shane Rodney gave the visitors their healthy halftime lead when he scored a 55m try with 30 seconds left on the clock, proving too fast for Raiders lock Jason Croker.

Previously, Canberra had not lost at home since a defeat to the Roosters in August last year.

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