Clutch Reynolds field goal sinks Panthers
AN Adam Reynolds field goal has seen South Sydney edge out a depleted Penrith outfit 21-20 at Pepper Stadium on Friday night.
In the lead-up to the game, Panthers coach Anthony Griffin decided to drop Matt Moylan, Waqa Blake and Peta Hiku for breaking a team curfew.
The trio's absence was compounded when livewire centre Tyrone Peachey was also ruled out due to a rib injury.
In front of 15,535 fans, the home side tried hard without their stars, but ultimately fell short when the Rabbitohs took full advantage of a penalty, marched down field and slotted the one-pointer.
The Rabbitohs bagged the first try of the night courtesy of a lovely offload from Angus Critchon which saw Sam Burgess crash over next to the posts.
Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary continually terrorised the Rabbitohs' backs with his kicking game, and it paid off when debutant Malakai Watene-Zelezniak set up brother Dallin for their team's first of the night.
The mountain men then snatched the lead with Cleary once again playing an instrumental role, setting up backrower Corey Harawira-Naera with a lovely short ball close to the line.
The away side gained some momentum late in the first half and they capitalised when a run-around play saw Cody Walker dive over to level the scores right before the break.
They continued their run when a bit of Walker magic set up Adam Reynolds five minutes into the second half.
Scores were tied when a right side play saw Panthers winger Michael Oldfield dive over in the corner.
The little five-eighth put in a stellar performance on Friday night.
He was at his scheming best, threatening the defensive line with every touch and was rewarded with a try before halftime.
He burst out of the blocks in the second half to set up Reynolds in the 45th minute.
His kicking game was also on song with a forced drop out midway through the second half.
By the end of the match he'd notched up a try, a try assist, one linebreak assist, 71 metres from eight runs and six tackle busts - the most in the game.
The poor kid had a night to forget.
In fact, he'll be having nightmares of Nathan Cleary bombs for some time to come.
It was the first time Burns had returned to Penrith after leaving the club to join the Rabbitohs so he would've no doubt had some nerves.
Those nerves certainly didn't subside with Cleary tormenting him all night with towering bomb after towering bomb.
The Panthers' game-levelling try to Oldfield in the 76th minute came shortly after Burns had made his third handling error of the night.
With the scores level at 20-all, the Panthers had a great chance to apply pressure on the Rabbitohs deep in their own end.
A kick went up - so did Alex Johnston and Leilani Latu.
Johnston was knocked over and Latu penalised for taking him out midair.
That allowed the Rabbitohs one final shot at sealing the game and they did with the Reynolds field goal.