Panthers earn thrilling NRL comeback

Penrith have produced the comeback of the NRL season, scoring 27 points in 29 minutes to defeat Manly 31-24 at Brookvale Oval on Sunday.

Manly led 24-4 after 46 minutes on the back of a dominant first half performance from stand-in five-eighth Dylan Walker.

But the Panthers came storming back, with rookie halfback Nathan Cleary controlling proceedings in the absence of the axed Jamie Soward.

Penrith scored five second half tries to none to record their sixth win of the year.

Manly coach Trent Barrett labelled the match must-win for his injury-hit side and their finals hope have taken another big hit. They have won just one of their last eight games.

Walker steered Manly to a 20-4 halftime lead on the back of considerably more possession and field position.

The NSW utility put forward a compelling case for his inclusion on the Blues bench for State of Origin II, scoring two tries and kicking four goals for an individual tally of 16 points.

Tom Trbojevic also crossed for a first half four-pointer and when Jorge Taufua scored Manly’s fourth try shortly after halftime, the Sea Eagles looked set for victory.

But from then all the running was with Penrith.

Tries to Josh Mansour in the 49th minute, Nathan Cleary, 55th minute, Lelani Latu 67th minute, and Peter Wallace in the 71st minute put the visitors ahead 26-24.

Dallin Watene Zelezniak put Penrith further ahead in the 75th minute before a Matt Moylan field goal two minutes from time sealed the incredible win.

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