Penrith climbs back to top of NRL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Penrith climbs back to top of NRL

By Darren Walton 11/04/2004 10:24:01 PM Comments (0)

Penrith coach John Lang said he would have called for an inquiry into his team's performance had the reigning National Rugby League premier not got the money against Melbourne.

The Panthers climbed to the top of the ladder with a heartstopping 30-26 win over the fast-finishing Storm at Penrith Football Stadium that had Lang shaking his head in frustration.

"In racing terms, we shot to the lead in the straight and started stargazing," Lang said. "The jockey might have dropped his hands as well.

"It was frustrating because we played so much good footy and almost blew it. We lost our focus."

Both teams scored five tries, with the goalkicking of Penrith centre Ryan Girdler, who landed five from six shots, proving the difference after the Panthers saw an 18-point lead early in the second half whittled down to just two with 17 minutes left on the clock.

Melbourne five-eighth Scott Hill had the chance to steal the points from Penrith at the death, only to flick the final pass into touch after a dangerous attacking raid, missing what would been a match-levelling try with a kick to come.

"I'm really happy with the way the guys fought back in the second half. They certainly didn't throw the towel in," said Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy.

"The Panthers gave us plenty of chances to get back into it."

Penrith's entertaining victory avenged two heavy defeats at the hands of the Storm last season and thrust the premiers to the head of the competition table.

"I like being on top of the table," Lang said.

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