Maloney stakes Origin claims as Panthers upset Roosters

James Maloney put on a star performance as the improving Penrith Panthers scored an upset 19-10 victory over the Sydney Roosters in the NRL on Sunday.

The Panthers racked up a third straight win by downing the defending premiers at Panthers Stadium, with Maloney providing three try assists and a field goal in an impressive showing to enhance his claims for a State of Origin recall.

Nathan Cleary came in for criticism following the Blues' State of Origin I defeat to Queensland in midweek, but he also put in a strong showing against the high-flying Roosters.

The Panthers scored from their first possession when Viliame Kikau powered onto Maloney's inside pass to dot down and they led by two points at the break with the Roosters responding through Daniela Tupou's unconverted score.

Cleary made a fine tackle to deny Tupou a second shortly after the restart and that proved crucial when Brent Naden knocked Maloney's kick over the top back for Kikau to dive over for his brace, while the Roosters had Joseph Manu in the sin bin.

Victor Radley reduced the arrears back to two, but Maloney provided a third assist for Naden and then kicked a 77th-minute field goal to seal the win.

On a day of upsets, the Gold Coast Titans also scored a surprise win with a 26-18 triumph at the Brisbane Broncos – Brian Kelly touching down twice for the visitors.

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