Panthers have won their first pool match at the Auckland Nines tournament, beating the Storm 14-11 at Eden Park.

The vibe at the ground was incredible, with most of the crowd dressed up in elaborate costumes, enjoying a few drinks in the sun. The games were very quick and we were on the edge of our seats for the whole 18 minutes!

We got off to a bit of a shaky start when a Melbourne player intercepted a pass a few minutes into the game, and took off down the field before being tackled about a metre from his line. But the ref called offside and play resumed up Penrith’s end.

From here, Penrith dominated the match with majority possession and a very aggressive style of play. 5 ½ minutes in, we sent the ball out wide to Eto Nabuli who found some space and danced his way over the line for the first points of the game!

A few moments later, Lewis Brown got a break and ran 40m down the field before offloading to Matt Moylan on his inside. He then sent the ball out wide but the pass was dropped and it was the Storm’s ball.

For the rest of the half, the Panthers continued to hammer away at Melbourne’s line but just couldn’t break through.

HALFTIME: 4-0 Panthers

It wasn’t long before Penrith got the second try they were after. 45 seconds into the second half, some rapid-fire passes get the ball to the right wing where Josh Mansour was waiting. He side stepped several Melbourne defenders before forward-rolling over the line, extending Penrith’s lead to 10-0.

Jamie Soward almost got us another try soon after, when he broke through the Storm’s backline and made a run for it. But he came under pressure a few metres from the line and passed the ball inside where the play went dead.

With 3 minutes on the clock, Melbourne managed to get their first points on the board after burrowing their way over the line in the right corner.

But we hit back 90 seconds later when young gun Isaah Yeo took the ball out wide and sprinted down the sideline for another 4 pointer.

The game was all but over, and as the siren sounded the Storm caught Penrith a little unaware and managed to score one last try. But it didn’t matter because the Panthers were still far enough ahead to come away with the win!

FULL TIME: 14-11