The rivalry between the Panthers and the Tigers was on full display on Saturday night with a kicking drama leading to one of the many blow ups throughout the game.
After the last clash between the teams led to a lengthy suspension to Joey Leilua after a controversy boiled over in an absolute thriller, the scoreboard was more of a blowout at 30-6 to the Panthers but there was no love lost.
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Panthers coach Ivan Cleary even ended up blowing kisses and pointing to the scoreboard after copping abuse from Tigers fans and members.
While the bad blood still stems from Cleary leaving the Tigers for the Panthers midway through his contract, it has led to one of the great modern rivalries.
There was clearly no love lost for between the pairs with the sides coming together every few minutes as the spiteful affair threatened to boil over throughout the game.
The Tigers shocked the Panthers to begin with as the visitors scored first, ending the Panthers‘ unique record of scoring first in every game since round one.
But the tension boiled over when, in the 29th minutes with the score still 6-0, the Tigers‘ Moses Mbye and Panthers’ Nathan Cleary came together as the Wests’ centre appeared to kick out at Cleary.
Mbye kicks out at Cleary.Source:FOX SPORTS
The pair then came together for some pushing and shoving with the referee looking into it.
Ultimately nothing came of it with Mbye not getting put on report for the incident.
“I don’t know if it was intentional we will have to have another clearer look at it,” Anasta said. “He definitely kicked out in the tackle, but I don‘t think it was that bad.
“I think it is going to be play on. The reaction was worse than the incident. There is nothing in that. You shouldn’t do it, but he doesn’t actually make contact with him.
“But he was lucky he didn’t.”
Co-commentator Dan Ginnane added: “If that last kick hit the mark he was in big trouble”.
At halftime, NRL legends Cooper Cronk and Mal Meninga didn‘t think there was anything for Mbye to answer for.
“If he had of connected we would have been talking about how much he is going to miss, but because he didn’t connect he should be OK,” Cronk said.
Mbye and Cleary clashed after the kick out.Source:FOX SPORTS
Mal Meninga said the fact Cleary had tackled Mbye around his ankle would help clear the incident.
“I don’t think he will be in trouble there,” Meninga said.
“Nathan has got his ankle and he is trying to get up and play the ball, so you are allowed to kick out of the tackle and get up to your feet and play the ball.”
Please. Nothing in Mbye thing. lets get back to playing rugby league in the second half. #NRLPanthersTigers
Okay look, I’m just saying if the Tigers want to meet the Panthers in the car park after the game to settle this once and for all, I’m all for it 😂#NRLPanthersTigers
But it was indicative of the spiteful nature of the match.
The action appeared to kick the Panthers into gear however, with the home side scoring twice to take a 14-6 lead to the break.
The Panthers swamped the Tigers late in the half, with the Tigers Adam Doueihi even sin binned late in the first 40 as the Panthers were on the prowl.
A second half try for Brian To‘o extended the lead to 18-6.
Despite the bitter edge to the match, there was a brilliant act of sportsmanship after Isaah Yeo knocked out but had three Tigers players catch him as he stumbled on his feet.
Ultra-classy act of sportsmanship there from the Wests Tigers players to make sure Yeo was okay. Respect to the Tigers there. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 #NRLPanthersTigers
A late penalty try for Stephen Crichton made it 24-6 as the Panthers celebrated 11 straight wins, extending the club record for consecutive wins even further.
The cherry on top came with a try inside the final minute to make it a 30-6 victory.
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