Panthers pip Knights with last-gasp try - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Panthers pip Knights with last-gasp try

By David Beniuk 05/04/2010 07:58:54 PM Comments (0)

Penrith superstar Michael Jennings will play "on one leg" for another month before undergoing surgery in the Panthers' bye week, coach Matt Elliott revealed after Monday's 34-30 come-from-behind NRL victory over Newcastle.

Centre Jennings was among those singled out for praise by Elliott, who rated his side's character at the end of a week in which the Panthers lost both their backrowers and called on powerhouse forward Frank Pritchard to return from a shoulder injury a month before he was due back.

Jennings broke his 2010 try drought with a sprint to the corner a minute after half-time to begin the Panthers' fightback from a 24-6 deficit at the break.

It now appears he will be unavailable for the Test against New Zealand on May 7, or the City-Country fixture the same night, with the elusive centre to undergo surgery on a small tear to the meniscus in his left knee earlier that week.

The Panthers have a round nine bye the weekend of the two representative matches.

"Michael Jennings playing on one leg, I thought he was fantastic," Elliott said.

"He's aggravating it all the time, we've just got to nurse him through to our first bye until he can get that sorted.

"It's like having a little stone knocking around in your knee, it's just uncomfortable."

Much had been made of Jennings' inability to get across the tryline before round four, but Elliott said that hadn't bothered him.

"People have been asking about Michael's try-scoring," he said.

"I don't think they were watching last week's game against Melbourne ... he did everything he possibly could to help the team out as he did today."

Elliott's troops were forced to rally after second-rower Gavin Cooper suffered a golden staph infection during the week and Nigel Plum twisted his knee at the side's final training session, prompting a request from the coach for Pritchard to play his first game of the year.

"I threw myself at his feet," Elliott said.

"He recognised that he was needed and he came and threw his hand up ... it was pretty well received by the team."

The match was not without controversy and Newcastle fans were left livid by a controversial video referee decision which awarded Penrith lock Joseph Paulo a try.

A controversial benefit of the doubt ruling from video referee Paul Simpkins resulted in a 72nd minute try to Paulo which locked the scores up 30-30.

Knights halfback Scott Dureau appeared to be impeded as Paulo flew high to grab a Luke Walsh bomb and the decision brought a hail of boos from the crowd of 15,894.

Penrith centre Adrian Purtell then crossed in the final minute to deliver the thrilling win to the visitors.

"Those ones are tough, I'd have to have a look at another replay before I make further comment," Knights coach Rick Stone said.

Newcastle winger Akuila Uate bagged a first-half hat-trick as his side took advantage of three Penrith forward passes at their own end to pile on four tries in 15 minutes before the break, but Stone was left lamenting the second half effort.

"Our attitude in D (defence) just really stunk I thought in the second half," he said.

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