The collective noun for a gaggle of panthers is a claw however there’s by no means been a sighting of a claw of panthers within the wild.
That is as a result of panthers are solitary creatures. They don’t journey in packs — until, after all, they’re the sort of panthers that come from Penrith.
Betting on Penrith has been a simple approach to earn cash during the last two and a half seasons, so in hindsight it should not be so shocking that New South Wales got here up trumps after staking their Origin lives on one explicit claw of Panthers.
Brad Fittler picked seven present Panthers for Origin II in Perth, and in debutant Matt Burton he had an eighth participant who’s well-known on the foot of the mountains, however he did not simply entrust the destiny of the sequence to a number of the greatest gamers from the NRL’s most dominant facet — he had the Blues emulate the very best of Ivan Cleary’s ruthless successful machine.
There is no such thing as a secret to what Penrith do or how they do it. For all their victories in current instances, the recipe is commonly the identical, and it is one the Blues adopted to the letter of their 44-12 win.
It did not occur from the opening whistle. There was actual stress on New South Wales heading into this sport — the knives had come out after their shock loss in Sydney, and the warmth had been utilized after Fittler’s litany of group modifications.
So to start with, the Blues have been slightly frantic, slightly uncertain of themselves. They knew what they needed to do, however getting there was the problem.
They arrived on the place they wanted to seek out by means of these many Panther connections.
It was by means of Burton’s sharp chase to a intelligent Cleary kick for his or her first strive, and by Jarome Luai and Burton combining to ship Brian To’o over within the nook for his or her second.
Burton is a Bulldog by commerce, however he discovered his craft as a Panther and he was a gentle hand and a sport breaker within the early levels when the Blues wanted it.
We discuss quite a bit about sure guys being “Origin gamers” or making “Origin performs”.
There is no such thing as a actual definition for what which means, it is the sort of factor you simply know whenever you see it and when Burton is round you are inclined to see it quite a bit.
It was in second half, after the Blues held a slim lead on the break, when the whole lot grew to become clear.
If the Blues did what Penrith do, in the event that they stayed on the job, managed possession, focused the Queensland again three with torturous bombs and rugged defence, hammered the life out of each Maroon man who runs the ball and attacked with an identical aggression and zeal with ball in hand and did all of it repeatedly and once more, they’d win.
If they might show they have been extra keen to show your desperation right into a weapon, in the event that they have been keen to be extra brutal, extra cruel, and refused to ever again down, they’d get there ultimately. It’d take quarter-hour or 50 minutes or 79 minutes and 59 seconds, however they’d get there.
The Panthers play that approach and so they play that model and so they belief it, actually belief it, and virtually all the time it ends with the opposition breaking, after which there is a cloud of mud, a cry of ache, some blood on the ground and the sport is gone.
That is how Penrith received the premiership final 12 months.
That is how they’ve stormed to the highest of the ladder this 12 months.
That is how there may be so lots of them on this New South Wales facet and that is how the Blues put 44 factors on Queensland to drive a decider.
It took about 25 minutes of the second half for Queensland to crack and as soon as the Maroons broke the Blues performed all of the basic Panther hits and loved each second of them.
Luai scored a strive from nothing, threw up the “W” together with his arms, as a result of the one factor he loves greater than preventing and successful is representing western Sydney, and screamed into the sky. To’o did all of the onerous work one may ask for, then did slightly bit extra.
Cleary, in his most interesting hour as an Origin participant, dictated phrases, arrange a couple of tries and completed with a complete lot of factors.
Isaah Yeo was excellent in all sides in the midst of the sphere and confirmed, but once more, why he is the very best ahead on this planet.
Burton obtained in on the reunion with some extra bombs that you simply dare not look instantly within the eye, lest they ship you mad.
Liam Martin threw himself round with no regard for all times or limb.
If the color was off in your TV you could possibly have sworn they have been nonetheless carrying black jerseys.
Stephen Crichton and Api Koroisau did not fairly get their moments within the highlight, however that is the way it goes at Penrith as properly — not everyone has to star each single time, as a result of there may be a lot expertise and so many gamers who can share the load.
It might be fallacious to color this victory solely as a Panther triumph. James Tedesco was excellent once more at fullback — if some other participant produced a sport just like the Roosters fullback did, he could be a certainty for man of the match however as a result of Tedesco has executed it so typically we have now come to anticipate these sort of performances.
Jake Trbojevic was sturdy on return and Junior Paulo was terrific off the bench, erasing reminiscences of his struggles in Sydney.
And as a lot because the Penrith gambit paid off, it may not be sufficient to win at Lang Park.
Queensland’s temple is sort of inconceivable to storm — the Blues have solely received two deciders there in Origin historical past.
The Maroons didn’t play with the desperation and fury they confirmed in Sydney, maybe as a result of they knew that they had that ace up their sleeve.
They’ve virtually half a century of Queensland mythology behind them, and all of the spirit and brilliance and historical past that comes with it.
However the Panthers approach is to play with out worry, it doesn’t matter what, even within the face of eternity.
Is that sufficient to overwhelm the magic of the Maroons on dwelling soil? There’s just one approach to discover out.