Cleary's field goal lesson for Moylan pays off
After being shown up by coach Ivan Cleary at training through the week, Panthers hero Matt Moylan wasn't going to botch another attempt from in front.
And it was a masterclass from his coach during the week that prepared the 23-year-old to step up in the clutch.
"He was giving it to me at training a bit. He was out there knocking a few over during the week and just saying, 'Was this where it was from?'" Moylan told NRL.com
"And he just went, 'Too easy'. Straight over. He was rubbing it in a bit. He only had to do one to beat me."
Skipper Jamie Soward, who feigned taking the game-winner before entrusting the shot to his fullback, said Moylan was beginning to recognise his importance to the team.
"He's a good kid. He's been working hard. I think he realises that the harder he works, the more rewards you get in this game," Soward said after the win.
"He did some important things tonight, but that's his job. He's one of our main players, he understands that, and he's playing good.
"He missed it last week. The coach gave him a bit of a talking to about missing the easy ones because he could've iced the game up for us last week. But this week he did the job, so that was the play."
It was the third time this year the local product produced a game-winner at the death. The second-year pro potted over a sideline conversion after the siren against the Bulldogs in Round 3, and then repeated his late-game heroics with a field goal in the final minute against the Broncos in Round 18.
"Yeah, that's three times this year now," beamed Cleary. "He loves the big moment. It doesn't faze him, and that's a very good quality to have. The bigger the moment, the calmer he is. He's had a great season. He keeps stepping up. It's good to see."
While Moylan proved to be the hero, Soward was the real star after having a hand in all four of his side's tries. The reborn playmaker bagged a first-half double before laying on another two more, including a highlight reel-worthy 20-metre cutout for Josh Mansour in the 50th minute.
His intercept of an Ethan Lowe pass in the second half turned the game in their favour, while his decision to pass on a field goal and force a line drop out in the closing minutes proved vital.
"Yeah, pretty happy. I just went out there and did my job. It would've been nice to get that intercept," Soward said of his game.
"Second half we were pretty disappointing but we hung in there and finished it off pretty professionally, I thought, in the end by being patient. We could've gone for a try, but we rolled it in, [the] kick chase was good and Moyza did his job and put it over."