BY CURTIS WOODWARD
Wests Tigers versus Penrith had everything on Saturday night at Parramatta. Another cracking game of rugby league with more than a bit of added spice that finished with Ivan Cleary disrespecting fans he once had under his thumb.
The Panthers held on for a cracking 19-12 win over the fiery Wests Tigers and it ended up pretty spiteful to say the least.
Wests held a slender lead at half-time and anyone would think that this was a tussle for the top spot on the premiership ladder such was the intensity and speed of the game.
But like some WCW battle royal from the 1980’s, it soon became a scrap.
Panthers fans would be happy with the two competition points.
Wests Tigers supporters should be proud of their side.
But just like a pro wrestling main event, we got heroes and villains.
Some on social media thought Wests Tigers were staying down for penalties throughout the 80 minutes.
Penrith were just as guilty at different stages.
At one point, a Panthers player ran into the back of a Wests Tigers defender as he chased a kick looking for a penalty. Later, Josh Mansour tried to play the footy on top of an opponent when he had no right to do so.
Then Luciano Leilua got hit across the face and required medical attention.
His brother Joey went mad like it was last drinks at Rooty Hill RSL.
Old Joey lost his mind as he’s done countless times in his career.
Perhaps Joey should worry more about his defensive reads.
From the same guy that called himself the best centre in the game a few months back.
Wests Tigers showed true spirit but it wasn’t enough to get them across the line and they need to realise quickly that Leilua will lose them more games than he wins them.
And then there was Ivan Cleary – the Panthers coach who once pretended to drive some bus over at Concord.
Cleary, who so far in his 49 years here on Earth has shown the charisma of a plant, decided tonight was the night to give some lip to Wests Tigers fans on the final siren.
All from the friendly confines of a coaches box.
The bloke better hire some security next time he’s in Campbelltown or Leichhardt.
Did we see the real Ivan Cleary tonight?
Victory would have been enough for Trent Robinson or Wayne Bennett.
What Cleary did was trash.
Harder to take for footy fans in general who are still trying to work out if they like his son Nathan as a bloke after his recent COVID-19 stuff ups.
If the Panthers keep winning, nobody at Penrith will notice.
Wests Tigers have the more pressing issue of Joey Leilua.
Good luck with that.