Nathan Cleary the hero as Penrith Panthers scrape past improved Brisbane Broncos


Penrith coach Ivan Cleary said he wasn’t surprised with Brisbane’s performance and always backed his chief playmakers to see things out when the game was on the line.

“All big games are won at the end, generally speaking. It was a really tough game. But our defence held when it needed to and it was going to come down to who could manage their opportunities the best. Obviously the field goal was a big play,” Cleary said.

Brisbane skipped ahead early when they made the surprising call to take a penalty, only for Penrith to hit back with a try through Kurt Capewell and take a 4-2 lead.

Everyone in the rugby league universe expected that to spark a run of points for the Panthers but it was the Broncos who managed to dig deep and score through Pangai jnr in the corner, with the big forward completing an acrobatic finish to put his side ahead.

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That try came off a mistake from To’o and he will be having nightmares about descending Steedens for the next week. Croft’s relentless targeting of the winger was accurate and merciless and looked like yielding results on more than one occasion.

It’s a tactic that won’t have gone unnoticed by some of the more fancied premiership contenders. Still, Penrith were able to find a way as Matt Burton struck in the centres and Cleary nailed the extras from the sidelines for a 10-6 lead.

That try was celebrated by Penrith with a series of restrained handshakes, a clear reply to accusations of arrogance during the week, but the Panthers needed to worry about what they Broncos were doing, not what the rest of the league was saying.

Croft was instrumental in Brisbane’s next try, serving it up on the inside for Ethan Bullemor, who showed some neat footwork for a big man to stand up Stephen Crichton and dive over for his maiden NRL try.

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They arrived just hoping to avoid another demolition but the Broncos crowd greeted their embattled side with a standing ovation as they filed off with a 12-10 half-time lead, which was soon 12-12 after a Cleary penalty in the 52nd minute had them all square.

The Brisbane fade-out just didn’t arrive and both teams started to look for field goals. Jamayne Isaako tried his luck for a one-pointer before Cleary stepped up to add the second two-point field goal of the season and put his side ahead 14-12 with five minutes left on the clock.

It was the kind of big-time play that showed why champion teams usually have a champion half. He wasn’t done yet, steaming onto a pass from playmaking partner Jarome Luai to score between the posts and seal another victory.

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Panthers hit back at ‘arrogance’ with hilarious try celebration


The Penrith Panthers have responded to accusations of arrogance during the week with a polite handshake after Matt Burton scored in the first half.

The Broncos were taking it to the unbeaten Panthers and led 6-4 until Burton crossed on an overlap in the 25th minute.

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After dropping a sneak peek of the reaction on Instagram, Burton got up and politely shook hands with winger Brian To’o and five eighth Jerome Luai.

It comes after the Panthers were slammed for their “cockiness” and “arrogance” during their round five win over the Raiders.

In last week’s clash, a brief scuffle erupted after Panthers winger Charlie Staines crossed in the corner for Penrith’s fourth try, before a fired-up Stephen Crichton grabbed opponent Joseph Tapine as he waited on the sideline to re-enter the match, which sparked the melee.

Crichton was subsequently charged with contrary conduct by the NRL judiciary and was fined $1300 with an early guilty plea.

The Raiders were fined $10,000 after a trainer got involved.

So the Panthers’ young guns have gone the other way, with the muted celebrations.

Social media was quick to react to the scene as the Panthers made a mockery of the criticism.

But after going down 12-10 down to the Broncos at the break, Fox League commentator Warren Smith pondered if the subdued try celebrations could explain the shock scoreline.

“The Panthers, very circumspect with their try celebrations tonight, whether that’s sucked a little bit of the energy out of them,” he said.

It comes after The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Crawley called out the Panthers players on NRL 360 for lacking “class and respect”, citing Friday’s incident as an example.

“There was a cockiness and an arrogance, and against the Raiders on the weekend, I thought it spilt over and it crossed the line of what’s acceptable,” Crawley said on Tuesday evening.”

It’s a label Panthers coach Ivan Cleary didn’t want a bar of, and said Penrith’s youngsters are just reacting to what they’re copping on the field.

“Our team is young. I don’t think people see the niggle that comes from the opposition towards our team,” Cleary said.

“We’ve been reasonably successful and what comes with that is we get a little bit of niggle toward our boys, especially because we are young.

“I guess at the moment our boys are combating that however they can.

“I’m always on the lookout to make sure we’re behaving the right way … I’m not too worried.”

Then again, the Broncos have ambushed the Panthers, taking a 12-10 lead to the halftime break.

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The Brisbane Broncos won’t stop the Penrith Panthers


He broke out of the structure and it was refreshing to see. The last try, when he chipped and chased, was a rarity from him. More of that.

In many ways, he’s very close to being the complete halfback and the scary thing is he has so much more room for improvement.

The sweet spot of a playmaker’s career is usually between ages 26 and 30. Cleary is only 23. It’s incredible to think where he might be in five years time.

The Panthers simply need to keep going to the well with their left-side attack against the Broncos.

Jarome Luai, Viliame Kikau and Matt Burton, along with Stephen Crichton lurking in the background at fullback, are almost impossible to stop.

How the Broncos can win it

Coach Kevin Walters has made a big call in dropping five-eighth Anthony Milford – but it’s the right one.

Milford is not delivering in attack, and especially not in defence, and the question now is what’s next for the talented but desperately out-of-form playmaker.

Kevin Walters and the Broncos have a lot of work to do to get back to the top.Credit:Getty

It can go either way: he can throw the toys out of the cot or go back to Queensland Cup and reinvent himself. I hope he turns it around because he can be a quality player when he’s on.

The decision to pick Brodie Croft and Tom Dearden in the halves puzzles me, however.

So many questions …

How they play together, who’s the dominant player and how they combine with hooker Jake Turpin around the ruck remains to be seen. I’ve seen no attack out of dummy half from the Broncos so far.

How will they bring fullback Jamayne Isaako into play?

Anthony Milford has been horribly out of form for the Broncos and needs a break.

Anthony Milford has been horribly out of form for the Broncos and needs a break.Credit:Getty

For me, Croft and Dearden are too similar in terms of style. Look at the best combinations in the comp – Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker, Cleary and Luai – one creates; the other organises.

Perhaps the biggest concern is their defence.

The Broncos have let in 85 points their past two matches, which is staggering because Souths were only in third gear last Thursday night.

Their defensive resolve is embarrassing for such a proud club.

I’ll say it again: they must bring back Wayne Bennett. If board members, or other people in the club, must stand down because of Bennett’s messy departure last time he was there, then so be it.

Matt Burton’s try against the Raiders on  Friday night was something special.

Matt Burton’s try against the Raiders on Friday night was something special.Credit:Getty

I’d also bring back Karmichael Hunt. He’s at the end of his career, but he’s a winner. He wouldn’t over-complicate his role. He’d be a running player and strong defensively, and his experience would be handy for such a young side.

My real fear, though, is I don’t know when the Broncos will come out of this current mess they find themselves in.

Player to watch

Burton’s try last week against Canberra, when he got that long ball from Luai, was something to see. He changed his angle before he got the ball. There’s only a handful of players who can do that.

To have the awareness to watch the ball coming from one angle, while also watching the defender straight ahead, is so skillful.

You need eyes like a hammerhead shark to do that – yet Burton did it with ease.

I knew Burton was a good player. I didn’t know he was this good.

It’s a little bit like Luai. At the start of last year, I couldn’t believe that Luai was the starting five-eighth for the Panthers.

Now they have Burton coming through. What a production line of young talent they have.

Joey’s playbook

Watch the magical feet of Luai, skipping across the field, getting in and out of gaps.

It will make the Broncos’ back-rowers chase him and then Luai will then turn Kikau back in, underneath him.

The key here is that Luai does it at all at speed. That will pull the defence apart, creating space for his monstrous back-rower.

Good luck stopping the Kikausaurus, Broncos.

The verdict

The Panthers by plenty. Write your own ticket.

JOEY’S TIP: Penrith by 28.
FIRST TRY-SCORER: Viliame Kikau
MAN OF THE MATCH: Nathan Cleary

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NRL 2021: Round 6, Late mail, Brisbane Broncos v Penrith Panthers, teamlists, Corey Oates, Kevin Walters, Storm v Roosters


Corey Oates could play his first NRL game of the year after being brought into Brisbane’s starting team on Wednesday.

Oates has been playing in the Queensland Cup for Souths Logan after stating his desire to convert into a back-rower.

At the Roosters, a key forward is racing the clock to overcome injury and line up against Melbourne.

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Round 6

Read on for the Round 6 Late Mail!



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NRL news: Penrith Panthers, niggle, fight, coach Ivan Cleary, Paul Crawley comments


Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has hit back at suggestions his plucky young Panthers have become kings of the NRL niggle.

On Tuesday night on NRL 360, News Corp journalist Paul Crawley accused the club’s players of “crossing the line” during a heated clash with Canberra in Round 5.

There was plenty of feeling in the game and it boiled over when the Panthers scored a try, and then young centre Stephen Crichton dragged an unwilling and unsuspecting Raiders player Joe Tapine into the celebrations.

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Round 6

That bizarre action had players running in from all angles ready to brouhaha.

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Stephen Crichton, Penrith Panthers vs Canberra Raiders, Paul Crawley, NRL 360


The Penrith Panthers have gotten their 2021 campaign off to a blistering start, but the club’s young stars have come under fire for their “cockiness” and “arrogance”.

During their round five victory over the Canberra Raiders on Friday, a brief scuffle erupted after Panthers winger Charlie Staines crossed in the corner for Penrith’s fourth try.

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In the celebrations, a fired-up Stephen Crichton grabbed opponent Joseph Tapine as he waited on the sideline to re-enter the match, which sparked the melee.

Crichton was subsequently charged with contrary conduct by the NRL judiciary and was fined $1300 with an early guilty plea.

Speaking on Fox League’s NRL 360, The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Crawley called out the Panthers players for lacking “class and respect”, citing Friday’s incident as an example.

“There was a cockiness and an arrogance, and against the Raiders on the weekend, I thought it spilt over and it crossed the line of what’s acceptable,” Crawley said on Tuesday evening.

“There’s ways to celebrate a try and ways not to celebrate a try.

“If a brawl starts there and Tapine puts on his chin, or Jack Wighton comes in and puts one on his chin and a blue starts, they get several weeks suspension.

“Yet Crichton walks away with a $1300 fine. If Penrith don’t want to do something to pull these blokes into line, then the NRL should because he should have gotten a suspension.”

Crawley suggested the Panthers’ disrespectful attitude was a sentiment shared by many within the NRL community.

“There are so many people around the game right now that are getting sick and tired of the arrogance that these blokes are showing and the lack of respect towards opposition,” Crawley said.

“People call you and ask, ‘Are you actually going to bring this up this week?’

“There’s so much to enjoy about the way Penrith play football, it’s actually a joy to watch them play. The energy, the excitement and the skill level of this team is quite incredible.

“(Panthers coach Ivan Cleary) said it the other day, that the players like to look at themselves as a source of pride for the community. That’s not behaviour that’s going to make you proud.”

READ MORE: Panthers demand answers after trainer manhandles players

Queensland great Ben Ikin pointed out: “They are young, and that’s the fine line you tread between confidence and arrogance.

“If you want this side to remain as confident as they are, as a coach do you have to accept that they will spill into arrogance from time to time?

“I just look at the ago of most of the guys in that circle, I don’t think Isaah Yeo is in there doing anything, Kurt Capewell’s having a smokeo at the back.”

Crawley replied: “Sometimes there’s 12-year olds that behave better than that … and there might be 12-year olds that carry on like thugs too.”

The Panthers have started their 2021 season with five consecutive victories, including a nailbiting win over reigning champions the Melbourne Storm.

Penrith will face the Brisbane Broncos at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Thursday evening, with kick-off scheduled for 7:50pm AEST.

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Penrith Panthers continue unbeaten surge on nostalgic night with victory against Canberra Raiders


Winger Charlie Staines bagged a double while bench forwards Liam Martin and Spencer Leniu injected plenty of energy when they came on.

Penrith also showed plenty of mongrel and never backed away from the physicality nor push and shove that has now become a regular feature whenever these two heavyweights meet.

At one stage Joe Tapine was standing on the sideline with an interchange card and was inadvertently dragged into a melee with Stephen Crichton after Staines bagged his second.

Tempers flare between Joe Tapine (left) and Stephen Crichton.Credit:NRL Photos

There was also a moment when Hudson Young shoved Kikau, which led to a penalty and allowed the Panthers to march up field and cancel out Jack Wighton’s first four-pointer.

The Panthers will be short odds to make it six straight when they head to Suncorp Stadium next Thursday to face the Broncos.

The only letdown was a few handling errors by the big men early in the game, and a couple of forgettable moments at the back by Crichton.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has got used to his players showing plenty of heart when out on their feet, and it was the same again out west.

The Raiders lost Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to a HIA and Josh Hodgson late to a leg injury.

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Even when everything appeared to be going against them midway through the second half, they had more points via Jarrod Croker who received a lovely ball from Elliott Whitehead after an excellent break down field by Young.

Canberra could come under scrutiny from the NRL for their handling of Nicoll-Klokstad, who remained on the field about seven minutes after being concussed. The Raiders No.1 fell over after being tackled by Isaah Yeo, then stumbled a second time in back play. He was also taken high by Kikau a few minutes later. He failed his HIA.

The Raiders host Parramatta next week and will be there when it counts at the end of the year. They have too many good players not to be there.

The Panthers, however, can do nothing wrong and deserve to be talked up as title favourites this far out from the grand final. Time will tell if they will soon be wheeled out for their own premiership lap of honour.

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New Zealand Warriors v Manly Sea Eagles, Penrith Panthers v Canberra Raiders round five results, draw, scores, schedule, tips, odds, teams


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Penrith Panthers vs Canberra Raiders Tips, Odds and Teams – NRL 2021


Penrith Stadium will play host to Friday”s
Round 5 NRL game between Penrith Panthers and
Canberra Raiders. The game kicks off at 7:55 pm with Penrith Panthers heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Penrith Panthers vs.
Canberra Raiders
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Friday April 9, 2021 at 7:55 pm

Where: Penrith Stadium

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match HERE

Penrith Panthers vs Canberra Raiders Odds

Penrith Panthers vs Canberra Raiders Preview

The Panthers were far too good for Manly last Thursday night and remain undefeated after four rounds.

The Raiders have also started the season strongly, dropping just one game thus far.

Many, including myself, are tipping the Panthers to go a long way towards winning the Grand Final this season so I’ll be backing them to win here.

Penrith Panthers vs Canberra Raiders Teams

Panthers team: 1. Stephen Crichton 2. Charlie Staines 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Matt Burton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. Liam Martin 18. Scott Sorensen 19. Robert Jennings 20. J’maine Hopgood 21. Jaeman Salmon

Raiders team: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Ryan Sutton 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine 14. Tom Starling 15. Siliva Havili 16. Iosia Soliola 17. Ryan James 18. Sam Williams 19. Semi Valemi 20. Dunamis Lui 21. Corey Harawira-Naera



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SANFL live stream: Panthers v Tigers



The stage is set for an epic battle when third-placed South Adelaide hosts fourth-ranked Glenelg in the race to the SANFL under-16 Torrens University Cup finals.

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