He might be going overseas to play in the English Super League next season but there are no regrets from Ivan Cleary regarding his departure, as a field goal by Luke Walsh sealed a 17-10 win for the Penrith Panthers over the Parramatta Eels.
Walsh’s kicking game was top-notch, with the field goal just one example of his solid execution – as he kicked a 40/20 and had the ball on a string at times.
Despite his strong form, Walsh will be at St Helens in 2014, though Cleary has no issues with Walsh departing.
“You’ve got to make decisions and I think both parties have come to an agreement and it’s best just to move forward,” Cleary said.
“He was really disappointed at halftime after what happened right on the stroke of halftime (intercept) and, to his credit, he came out and worked really hard for his team.
“He’s shown that week in, week out, certainly since the hgh therapy announcement (that he was leaving).
Someone who knows halfbacks and knows them well seeing as he was one, Eels coach Ricky Stuart praised the work of Walsh and believes if the Penrith halfback was not kicking as well as he was, the Eels may have won the game.
“You look at Luke Walsh tonight – if we didn’t play against such a good kicking game, we probably win the game there tonight,” Stuart said.
“His kicking game was tactically smart. We knew he was going to be good.”
Compared to some of their previous games and heavy losses, it was the resolve of his Eels side that praised Stuart as they fought their way back into the contest on a couple of occasions, only to be denied by the boot of Walsh.
“I prefer that loss tonight than fluking a win because we had a dig tonight,” Stuart said.
3. Luke Walsh
2. David Simmons
1. Darcy Lussick