Penrith spoil Tongue's Raiders farewell - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Penrith spoil Tongue's Raiders farewell

27/08/2011 11:20:50 PM Comments (0)

Penrith spoiled retiring Canberra skipper Alan Tongue's final game in the nation's capital with a gritty 19-18 NRL victory on Saturday night.

A 79th minute try to Raiders utility Mick Picker ensured a grandstand finish, but a controversial decision to not award Canberra a penalty in the dying seconds denied them a potential match-winning 50 metre penalty shot at goal.

Canberra fullback Josh Dugan appeared to be dragged down by a Panthers player after he grubbered ahead for himself, but he was not rewarded.

Earlier, Tongue looked to be contributing to his own fairytale farewell when he crossed for a rare try just before halftime to give them a slender 12-6 lead at the break.

But his dreams were shattered in the second half by a Penrith outfit who score twice and turned on a perfect defensive display to consign Canberra to their fifth-straight loss and leave them in danger of picking up just the second wooden spoon in their history.

A soft converted try to Penrith centre Brad Tighe, who legally stole possession from Canberra winger Reece Robinson, levelled the scores soon after the halftime break before a pearler from David Simmons gave them the lead.

Simmons was the beneficiary of fantastic lead-up work from rookie Blake Austin, Lachlan Coote and Luke Walsh, who threw the final pass in the 60 metre try.

From there, the determined defence of Penrith shut the Raiders out of the game.

A field goal by Walsh in the 69th minute gave the Panthers a seven-point buffer and eventually proved the difference.

Walsh had opened the scoring in the fourth minute in another long-range try, when he backed up a strong run from Tighe - before Canberra's Josh McCrone levelled mid-way through the first half with an impressive solo try.

Meanwhile, Penrith fans will need to grapple with the idea that senior forwards Petero Civoniceva and Trent Waterhouse, who will join Brisbane and Warrington respectively next year, may have played their last games for the club.

Waterhouse did not return after leaving the field in the 45th minute with a damaged left leg, while Civoniceva also went down clutching his leg in the second half but bravely played on before spending the final 10 minutes on the bench.

Raiders centre Joel Thompson could be in trouble after he was put on report for an ugly high tackle on Penrith five-eighth Travis Burns.

Penrith coach Steve Georgallis praised his team's strong defence in the second half and hailed their character after finishing with an empty bench due to injuries.

"We really played as a team and played together and really earned that win," Georgallis said.

"... The last four or five weeks we've thrown our games away.

"We've been in a position to win them and made just too many silly errors.

"I thought today we were going down the same track."

It's unclear how severe Waterhouse's injury is, but Civoniceva said he was not badly hurt despite also leaving the field.

Canberra coach David Furner lamented his team's inability to maintain the form of the first half and send captain Tongue out a winner.

"We've still got to focus on our defence," Furner said.

He praised Tongue, who he said played his best game this season.

"Tonguey's that sort of player that gives 100 per cent and I know he wasn't going to come off that field leaving any energy behind," Furner said.

The Raiders are now in danger of collecting their first wooden spoon since their debut year in 1982.

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