Panthers win Group 10 first division title

SOMEBODY hand Michael Wicks a movie deal, he’s got a killer script waiting to win an Oscar.

Bathurst Panthers have claimed the 2016 Group 10 first division grand final in golden point extra-time, Todd Pangas’ try in the first added period the match-winner for the men in black in a 10-6 result over defending premiers Orange CYMS.

Stone motherless and not recording a win until round seven of the competition, Panthers won 12 straight to be triumphant in their first reserve grade grand final since 2011.

“It’s the stuff out of movies,” an over whelmed Wicks said at full-time.

“Everyone has busted their arse. After five rounds we were last,12 in a row … it’s unreal.”

Panthers’ led 2-0 at the break following a Joey Bugg penalty goal in the 28th minute.

The visitors then bumped their lead up by a further two points when Bugg potted another penalty goal six minutes after the break.

For all money, it looked a winning margin, with neither side really looking like scoring throughout the opening 45 minutes of the clash.

But a piggy back penalty and then some inspired running from Orange CYMS prop Des Knight netted the 2016 first division player of the year the game’s only four-pointer in regular time.

Steve Lane slotted the extras and the defending premiers led 6-4.

Handling was a major issue for both sides, understandable considering the deluge at Wade Park.

With eight minutes remaining, Panthers were awarded a penalty within kicking distance and Bubb stepped up to draw the scores level at 6-all.

The men in black rose to the challenge, whereas CYMS battled to get out of their own end as regular time expired.

Panthers had a field goal shot in the initial stages of golden point but it barely got off the ground.

Wicks’ outfit then found itself in great field position again after CYMS kick in general play in the next set went out on the full.

With the game on the line, backrower Brian Moss produced a deft right-foot grubber into the in-goal, Pangas beating teammate Jayden Gibbs-O’Neill to the ball.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Wicks said. 

“It was a gruelling game. It was unreal to get the result. The boys stuck to it, played hard and got the result. This is why we play footy,” Wicks said.

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