Taylan May was left cruelly left when a post-match interview with Andrew Johns ended in an awkward way, forcing his mate to intervene.
Taylan May stuck, and he didn’t know it.
Penrith’s young gun has emerged as a serious talent on the wing this year, scoring an acrobatic attempt in his team’s 30-18 win over the Bulldogs on fridaynight.
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But his impressive efforts came to naught in the post-match sheds when he and Panthers teammate Izack Tago were interviewed by NRL legend Andrew Johns.
After ending the chat by telling the Penrith stars to “kill it,” May offered to shake Johns’ hand, but the eighth Immortal was already on its way.
He had turned his back on him and started looking for another player in the Penrith lineup to talk to, stranding May and his outstretched hand.
Fortunately, his good buddy Tago intervened and shook hands with him instead, causing May to burst out laughing as he hugged his middle partner.
The incident saw Johns being roasted by his nine colleagues later in the broadcast.
“And he (May) knew,” laughed James Bracey. “That’s great, he went for the hug.”
Paul Gallen added that Johns “may want to go and make it up to him”.
The Panthers shrugged the absence of six Origin stars to beat Canterbury and send an ominous warning to the competition that even without their biggest names, the reigning champions will get the job done.
Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, Isaah Yeo, Stephen Crichton, Liam Martin and Brian To’o all watched from the sidelines as Sean O’Sullivan and debutant Kurt Falls helped the Panthers do what they couldn’t in their premiership season: compete in the Origin period.
The small premiership now seems within reach for Penrith and the season is only halfway through; the Panthers are two games clear at the top and they probably endured their toughest game of the year in terms of personnel changes.
It was not all doom and gloom for the Bulldogs, who continue to find their attacking rhythm under interim coach Mick Potter.
Ex-Panther Matt Burton seriously shocked the local crowd in the second half and his pairing with Josh Addo-Carr wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by Brad Fittler – the man who knocked Addo-Carr off the NSW Origin team.
The Bulldogs had more possession in the first half, finishing on 90 percent, but still three tries behind the scoreboard.
“Apart from our adultery, I’m quite happy with our attack, but we’re just giving the other team too many chances,” Potter said after the game.
“We have to build our resilience in our ‘D’ early on. At the moment it is not acceptable and we have to start better.”
Falls showed a radar-esque kick game and alongside the criminally underrated O’Sullivan, the Panthers started in the fielding position they needed to open a handy buffer in the first half.
Dylan Edwards and James Fisher-Harris kept the captaincy warm for Yeo and Cleary and predictably, the pair were among the hardest working on and off the ball.
The star power may have diminished, but there was no shortage of magical moments. May scored one of the most acrobatic attempts of his career to date, leveling with Ryan Papenhuyzen at the top of the try-scoring leaderboard.
“I was happy with the week and happy with the game,” Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said after the game.
“In the beginning of the second half we probably couldn’t build up pressure with our last moves, which we are normally very good at.
“But all in all I was very happy.”
With Jasper Bruce, NCA NewsWire
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