Two breathtaking tries to Mitchelton winger Issah Banu helped clinch a 28-14 victory for the visiting Panthers against a valiant Valleys Diehards in the Rugby League Brisbane Northside 3 competition on Saturday.
The Panthers now sit in fourth spot on the ladder with 27 points, only one point adrift of rivals Aspley on 28 points in third spot.
Emerson Park, the Grange, was the venue for this highly entertaining match that saw a spirited comeback by the Diehards fall short against the classy men and in black and red.
The Panthers hit the lead after only two minutes of play with Banu latching onto a Lachlan Watson pass. The speedster had some work to do before planting the ball down in the corner.
Another try followed soon after, before Banu’s showstopping second try gave the Panthers a healthy lead.
Dummying through a tight gap, the electrifying flanker stepped and weaved his way through several Diehards to eventually beat his opposite number for pace.
The flashy winger then raced in to score what was arguably the try of the match taking the Panthers into the sheds leading 14-0 at the break.
Minutes after the interval, the Diehards appeared to have been given a license to thrill themselves.
After only one minute of play, the home side scored a solid try through replacement Campbell Mason who barged his way over the line.
Diehards coach David Murphy looked composed on the sideline as his side scored yet again seven minutes later, with the tireless hooker Matt Orton lunging over from dummy half.
As the Diehards surged forward being urged on by their vocal home crowd, powerful back rower Kereeu Pere scored beside the sticks, collecting a beautiful pass from Orton which sent the Polynesian powerhouse in for a cracking try.
At 14-14, the Panthers coaching duo of Clint Dolan and Adam Wright could only look on, but some tactical switches proved a masterstroke by the pair in the dying stages of the game.
Workaholic dummy half Watson sensed a lapse in the Diehards defence close the line and amazingly was able to scamper over under the sticks to break the deadlock.
With Valley’s holding on for dear life, they were still being led around the park by halves pairing Isaac Bacon and Hayden George.
But a try out of nowhere to Panthers winger Masiles Alexander dented the hopes of the men in royal blue and white with a sneaky try down the blindside.
Panthers centre Daniel Lane, who always proves a handful with his elusive running style, drew the final curtain on the game.
His maneuvering run through three Diehards defenders saw him plant the ball down on the chalk to seal what was an important win for the Panthers.