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Young Panthers win in Auckland

John Shamon

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The NYC Panthers have rediscovered their winning ways with a convincing 28-4 victory over New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday.

A solid defensive performance, coupled with some spectacular long-range tries, meant the Panthers rarely looked troubled by the Kiwi side.

The tone of the match was set early when back-to-back blunders from the Warriors carried the Panthers to the opening points through try-scoring specialist Daniel Brown in the 14th minute. A set play caught Brown’s opposite winger out of position, allowing Mose Feilo to find him unmarked to score his tenth try for the season, leading to a 6-0 scoreline.

The visitors doubled their lead a quarter of the way through the match courtesy of a 95 metre intercept from Sam Martin-Savage. The five-eighth plucked a feeble kick out of the air and outsprinted the Warriors defence for an end-to-end try. Dean Blore’s second straight conversion handed his side a 12-0 lead.

A host of missed opportunities for the Panthers followed, keeping the Warriors in the contest at the break after Blore, Carl Winterstein and Richie Munchow each fell centimetres short of the try line.

HALF-TIME: NZ Warriors 0 – 12 Penrith Panthers

Brian Too had no troubles adding to the Panthers lead with a dazzling 65 metre solo-run following the restart. A linebreak and fend from the winger created space to streak away for his side’s third try, before Blore’s conversion put them 18-0 in front.

The Warriors looked to have posted their first points of the game just shy of the hour mark but for some desperate, last-ditched defence from the Panthers denying Lee Turner.

A carbon-copy move to Brown’s first try almost resulted in his second but for a forward pass in the lead up denying the winger.

Instead, the Warriors would score next through Chanel Harris-Tavita after 65 minutes. A jinking run from the halfback allowed him to burrow his way to the line from close range. The conversion was missed to keep the score at 18-4.

That try proved only to be a consolation when the front-row pair of Stefano Hala and Tom Skinner crossed inside the last six minutes to seal the emphatic victory.

FULL-TIME: NZ Warriors 4 – 28 Penrith Panthers