Trailing 26-12 in the second half, the Raiders led by leaders Terry Campese and Alan Tounge produced perhaps their best second half performance of the year, to chase down the Panthers lead and steal the victory courtesy of a try to Campese.
The Panthers loss has virtually handed the Dragons the minor premiership, as well as their own hopes of making the top 4 now dashed with their4th loss in5 weeks.
This game was also not without controversy however as Penrith coach Matt Elliott wanted some answers from the referees after three crucial penalties went against the Panthers at critical stages.
“You guys have been around long enough to know that I don’t comment on referees decisions too often, but I thought there were some big decisions in that second half” says Elliott. “The Lewis charge down call, I really need an explanation as to how that was a penalty, and I’m sure I’ll get one,” Elliott said.
The game was perhaps destined to end in a Panthers loss with several disruptions in the Panthers camp causing some dysfunctional play. Lachlan Coote pulled out on game day. Frank Pritchard only suffered once due to tonsilitis, whilst Michael Jennings was struck down with a tummy bug.
It leaves the Panthers in a precarious position and in danger of missing out on a home final if they can’t string some wins together in the last few rounds.
The Raiders win however keeps their finals hopes alive, and they’ll be looking to continue their run of wins with a solid performance next week.