The Panthers are through to the quarter finals of the Auckland Nines after finishing at the top of their pool today.

Despite losing game three to Souths 18-16 this afternoon, our for-and-against tally was stronger than the other clubs in our group, which got us through. The 2 point margin in this game also means we avoid playing the Warriors until at least the semis. If we had lost by 3 points or more, we would have been lining up against them in the next game! With the amount of home crowd support they have, and having won all three of their pool matches, they are looking unstoppable!

Instead, we will line up against the Cowboys at 2.45pm (AEDT).

Here’s how today’s pool match went down.

Souths were quick off the mark and had their first try within 90secs. After a bit of to-and-fro they had the ball up their end, and went left, before their winger barged his way over the line. They didn’t stop there though, and the next play saw them cross again. This time they hit our right side, drawing Eto Nabuli in before passing out wide for their winger to run in near the corner post. The score was 8-0 and the Panthers needed to get on top of things.

We got our own back in the 5th minute when Eto and Kev Kingston teamed up on the left wing. Kev passed to Eto, before Eto passed back to Kev, who pushed through a stack of Souths defenders and stretched his arm out over the line. Matt Moylan kicks and it’s on target, and the score is 8-6.

Souths soon get another 4 points after their attacker side steps a couple of our guys and finds a hole up the centre, taking the score to 12-6. Penrith dominated possession for the remainder of the half and we had a couple of attempts at our line but couldn’t get over.

HALF TIME: 12-6 Rabbitohs

We came out a lot stronger in this half and are almost over in the first minute thanks to Tyrone Peachey, who took the ball wide and went for a run, before being brought down about 1m from the line.

Souths then made the most of their time with the ball and they scored again in the next play. A chip kick from centre field goes over everyone’s head to the right corner, Sowie chases but is beaten by a Souths attacker who grabs the ball and plants it down. Souths have extended their lead to 18-6 with 5 minutes on the clock.

With 3 minutes remaining Reagan Campbell-Gillard gets the breakthrough we’d been waiting for, and goes up through the middle and steam rolls over the top of several Souths players to get the ball over the line!

With a minute on the clock and with Penrith just a try and a conversion away from levelling the score, Sowie gets the ball, runs through the guts of the pack before passing right to Josh Mansour who gets bundled up by several defenders but manages to drag them over the line with him as he gets the ball down.

Incredibly, the kick misses and Penrith are still two points behind, just as the full time siren goes.

FULL TIME: 18-16 Rabbitohs