Draw for NYC Sharks
In a match that showed off the attacking skills of both teams, the NYC Sharks have been denied on the bell as the Panthers held on for a 34-all draw.
Playing the competition leaders the Sharks threw everything at their opponents and had a chance to snatch a last-gasp win after the final time siren had sounded, only for the Penrith side dive on the ball in the in-goal area to claim one point for the draw.
In a see-sawing contest neither team was able to gain the ascendency, with coach John Morris certain to be proud of his teams efforts against a side sitting five points clear at the top of the NYC ladder.
The Panthers looked to have put their opponents away a handful of times in the second half only for the Sharks to respond in what was a gutsy effort.
The Sharks began strongly and less than 15 minutes into the match they had a 12-0 lead after tries to Sione Katoa and Eddie Faalua.
This Penrith side however aren’t sailing clear on top of the table for no reason and with Sharks errors inviting them back into the match they had a 16-12 lead going to half time.
While satisfied with their start the Sharks would have been disappointed to trail at the break and even more so when the Panthers posted first points of the second period to push their lead out to 10 at 22-12 in front.
Showing outstanding composure the Sharks bounced back, Katoa crossing for his second and when Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga slotted the sideline conversion it was 22-18 and game on once again.
The Sharks hopes were lifted even further when Jesse Raimen, in his first game in Cronulla colours after moving from the Manly club mid season, displayed outstanding strength and footwork to touch down wide out.
This time Aufaga-Toomaga couldn’t convert with the teams locked at 22-all with still a quarter of the game left to be played.
The Panthers went back in front, the third Katoa try following a clever backline play and the sideline conversion made it 28-all with the two teams trading blows.
With under five minutes left the Panthers looked to have claimed the points when they went over close to the posts but the Sharks marched back down the field and it was Faalua barging over for his second of the afternoon which brought them within two.
Aufaga-Toomaga displayed nerves of steel to add the extras from a difficult angle, locking the scores up once again.
A clean break by Keenan Yorsten then put the Sharks in attacking range with time ticking, however the Rhys Davies attempt at field goal sailed wide.
The Sharks had one last shot but some desperate Penrith cover defense saw the whistle blow on an exciting draw.
The one point for the draw will see the Sharks retain their position inside the top eight and at the same time gives them some confidence ahead of a couple of crucial games ahead.
Sione Katoa 3, Eddie Faalua 2, Jesse Raimen tries, Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga 5 goals