Penrith Intrust Super Premiership NSW captain Darren Nicholls has vowed to work on his goalkicking after his four missed conversions last Sunday almost cost his side a spot in this weekend’s Grand Final.
Despite the 28-year-old’s unsuccessful kicks at goal, Penrith managed to advance to this Sunday’s reserve grade decider after overcoming a fast-finishing Canterbury Bulldogs outfit 16-12 at Leichhardt Oval.
The experienced halfback admitted to feeling a little bit guilty for missing four conversions as the match started to get too close for comfort.
“You do start to think about that sort of stuff, but I’ve just got to put in the hard work at training this week and get it right for the big game,” Nicholls told Extra Time.
“It was just one of those days for me. I’ve just got to get into training, get my practice in early and get back to my routine.”
Penrith were well in control of the match before a wild and whacky last few minutes almost sent the Mountain Men packing.
After Panthers centre Tony Satini was sin-binned in the 78th minute, the Bulldogs scored through Rhyse Martin to make it 16-12 – setting up a grandstand finish.
“We had the game in the bag but almost let it slip,” Nicholls said.
“Those last 10 minutes were a bit wild. We were giving away unnecessary ball, a couple of penalties, a sin bin and the next thing you know they’ve scored.
“I’ll be honest, it got a little bit nerve-racking at the end there but we got the job done which was a positive.”
Penrith will go into this Sunday’s game against Wyong as slight underdogs after the Roos finished the season four points clear atop the competition.
“They are a really strong side with big forwards and a really good hooker in captain Mitch Williams, who will get them around the park,” Nicholls said.
“They finished first by a mile this year and will be favourites going into this weekend. I really back our side and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.