Panthers snatch victory with last-play try

Bryce Cartwright of the Panthers scores the winning try. Photo / Getty
Bryce Cartwright of the Panthers scores the winning try. Photo / Getty

Panthers coach Anthony Griffin's side scored a dramatic last-second win over Parramatta but only after playing a game of "Russian roulette" with the new NRL video referee bunker.

Penrith broke the hearts of their fierce western ­Sydney rivals Parramatta when, in an extraordinary finish at Pirtek ­Stadium, forward Bryce ­Cartwright scored the matchwinning try with literally one second left to give his side a 20-18 victory.

Panthers players were ­euphoric, knowing they had somehow stolen a win from the Eels whose players ­collapsed on the ground ­shattered after the siren.

"We're gutted," Eels ­skipper Kieran Foran said.

Parramatta led 18-12 in the 75th minute before conceding two tries to bomb out.
It was the Panthers' second win of the season, but, remarkably, they have been a chance of winning every game inside the final four minutes.

Griffin and Eels coach Brad Arthur both questioned decisions coming from the bunker and when video referee officials choose to step in and overrule on-field decisions.

In the 74th minute, Parramatta were given a scrum feed before the bunker stepped in and reversed the decision. Penrith winger Josh Mansour scored in the next set.

There were several other key moments that left Griffin, Arthur and Foran confused.

"I'm the same as most coaches - Russian roulette," Griffin said of his thoughts on the bunker.

"You don't know what's going to happen. I'd like to be able to tell you. We spun the wheel on a couple of video referee calls and we got done. Just the basic rules of the game, as you have seen ­tonight, are going out the window. I'll shut up now."

Panthers skipper Matt Moylan was then asked about the bunker before ­Griffin intervened.

"He'll shut up now, too," Griffin said. Arthur said he doesn't know when the ­bunker would overrule on-field decisions.

"There have been a couple of times this year they could have reversed the decision ­because they got the ruling wrong. I'm not sure when they will come in and overcall it or when they won't," he said.

Foran added: "Like Brad said, there's been a ­couple of times in previous games when we've thought that the bunker might overrule and the refs have said no, that's not the case."

On-field ­decisions, though, shouldn't run roughshod over what was a ripping match played ­between two proud western Sydney clubs.

Parramatta were just one second from completing a rare winning clean-sweep following victories in the past fortnight over Canterbury and Wests Tigers. Somehow, the Panthers hung in before Cartwright scored on fulltime from a Jamie Soward cross-field bomb.

"It is just another week at the Panthers - the last play," Griffin said. "We won one a couple of weeks ago against Brisbane as well, we are going one-for-one at the moment.

"The Bulldogs beat us in the last play. That's been our last month. It was nice to get one tonight.

"I thought we were getting a lot of momentum in that last five minutes when we did have the ball. It was frantic obviously but I just had that feeling we were a chance."

PENRITH 20 (B Cartwright 2 J Mansour P Wallace tries J Soward 2 goals) bt PARRAMATTA 18 (I De Gois M Gordon J Paulo tries M Gordon 3 goals) at Pirtek Stadium. Referee: Alan Shortall, Grant Atkins. Crowd: 15,600.

- news.com.au

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