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Moylan the not-so accidental hero

Moylan the not-so accidental hero

A lot happened between the 79th minute try to Kevin Naiqama and Matt Moylan's attempt at the game-winning goal against the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon. 

He had a 10-year veteran, Jamie Soward, walk up to him and say, "Take your time". 

He also had to block thoughts of the 45-metre shot teammate Peter Wallace missed in the same situation last week, before the Panthers suffered a heart-breaking one-point loss to Melbourne. 

Heck, he even had to put up with trainer Ronnie Palmer slap him on the backside and say, "Enjoy it". 

But, as Moylan took the kicking tee and lined up the ball from the sideline, he probably never would've expected that his own captain was already be planning which direction to kick during golden point extra-time. 

"I didn't know that," Moylan beamed after the game. "I was backing myself in to kick it. I didn't think we were going to golden point.

"When you're young, you always want to kick one of them goals. It just happened I got the chance, I had to think same as every other kick: 'Just kick it well'.

"And it went over."

Not bad for a second-year kid who was Ivan Cleary's third-choice option as goalkicker heading into 2014. With co-captain Peter Wallace hitting them pretty sweetly, and esteemed goalkicker Jamie Soward also on board, it was a duty Cleary thought the sweet-smiling assassin shouldn't have to burden. 

But when Wallace pulled up lame with a groin injury on match-eve, and with Soward having issues with his back since getting off the plane from England, the 22-year-old screamed 'pick me' from the top of the mountains. 

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said he was confident his young charge was going to slot the game-winner.

"I've got to give Daryll Halligan a wrap here, he rang me the other day and said just so you know, Matty's kicking very well and he's raring to go," Cleary said. 

"As it turned out, Peter Wallace got injured after training yesterday, so we didn't know for sure that he wasn't playing until midday today. 

"Sowie hadn't been goalkicking because he's got a bad back. And yeah, Matty just, he was all over it. He really wanted to do it. That's always a good sign. 

"Was I confident? Yep, I was." 

With his halfback expected to return next week, and Soward seemingly recovering well from his back – he laid on the match-winning try for Naiqama with a three-man cut-out delivery – there's a chance Saturday's match-winner could be Moylan's last. 

"...If I can take it off him," Cleary said. "He's been doing the work. That's important. Sometimes it's hard if you're a second string or third string kicker, there's a lot of guys that wouldn't do the work.

"But he's been doing it. He wants to be a kicker and he got an opportunity and he took it today." 

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