Mounties have gone down to the top of the table Penrith Panthers at a water logged Leichhardt Oval on Saturday 18-12.
Despite the late inclusion of Raiders playmaker Terry Campese, Mounties were their own worst enemies in the opening stanza dropping several balls and missing opportunities close to the Panthers line.
With the continual turnovers putting the Panthers in good field position they opened the scoring in the 12th minute after a Mounties mistake in their own half and it was 6-0.
The pattern of play continued for the next 10 minutes and in the 23rd minute another simple error by Mounties saw the Panthers attack close to the line and an easy try was scored when awes Naquama was able to dive over from dummy half and with the conversion it was 12-0.
Mounties kept hanging in and after getting their ball control in order they presented several opportunities and it was Shane Shackleton who took the advantage when he crashed over close to the line in the 37th minute to make it 12-6 at the break.
Mounties looked good in the opening period of the second half and traded well with the Panthers however a dropped ball on tackle one in the 60th minute gifted Penrith an easy try when Latu was able to scoop up the loose ball and dive over for a converted try to make it 18-6 with a quarter of the match to go.
Both side then got into the grind with the Panthers getting frustrated and in the 72nd minute a brain snap by Panthers hooker Foster saw him punch a Mounties player and he was sent to the bin for the remainder of the game.
Mounties tried hard to take advantage of the extra man in the final minutes but could not find the space they needed in the wet conditions until the final minute when Campese put through a well weighted grubber and Ryan Carr was on the spot to pounce and get the converted try to make the final score 18-12.
Mounties final round game of the VB NSW Cup is next Saturday against the Sharks at Aubrey Keech Reserve with kickoff at 3pm and we will be celebrating the season with a reunion of players from the victorious 1987 teams.