The Panthers have beaten the Wyong Roos 52-14 in their final trial match at Sportingbet Stadium today.
Our boys dominated the match from the kick off, completing their sets and maintaining a strong defensive line throughout the match.
Here’s how it went down.
We came out firing and dominated possession from the first whistle, forcing errors from the opposition and winning a few early penalties. Within six minutes we had our first try with Nathan Smith crossing in the right corner thanks to a smart quick pass from an under pressure Kierran Moseley. Will Smith took the kick and was successful, so Penrith took a 6-0 lead.
A few minutes later we were in again. We had identified a weakness on Wyong’s left wing and Sakeo Dibeci got right up to the line and burrowed his way in to add another 4 points to the scoreboard.
Wyong then got a chance to score after a Penrith grubber kick to the right wing missed its target, and a Roos attacker scooped the ball up and crossed. The conversion missed to the score went to 10-4.
But it wasn’t long before the Panthers hit back, with Will Smith putting a bomb up to our left side, which was dropped by Wyong’s fullback right on the goal line. It bounced back into the waiting arms of Isaah Yeo who dropped down to score. The kick was good and we extended our lead to 16-4.
Shortly after this Vaipuna Tia Kilifi went down injured and had to be carried off the field with a suspected leg injury.
Penrith made the most of the break in play and took the time to regroup and it paid off, with another try a few moments later. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak got some space and dodged several Wyong defenders on the 10m line, to run in and plant the ball down. Will Smith’s conversion was on target, and the score blew out to 22-4.
With three minutes left in the first half, we put another 4 points on the board when a beautiful offload from Isaah Yeo was picked up by Kevin Naiqama, who scored just inside the corner post.
HALFTIME: 28-4 Panthers
Wyong grabbed an early penalty to start the second half and made the most of the opportunity. Halfback Darren Nicholls did it all himself as he stepped his way through the Panthers line from close range, and danced over the line. A missed conversion took the score to 28-8.
We got our own back though, when Sakeo Dibeci split the Wyong defence from inside our own half and sprinted down the field, only to be brought down 15 metres short of the line. On the very next play the ball was spread to the left and Isaah Yeo strolled over in the south eastern corner. Will Smith converted nicely from out wide and the Panthers' lead extended to 34 – 8.
In the 50th minute Dallin Watene-Zeleniak found himself some space and made a 70m run to the line look like a Sunday stroll, easily outpacing the Wyong chasers. Will Smith’s boot was again on target, and the scoreline had blown out by 32 points,
Ethan Cook wasn’t going to let the backs steal the limelight. He sliced through three Roos defenders in the 63rd minute and showed good pace to touch down in the corner in a great solo effort.
In the last 10 minutes of the match, Wyong launched an attack on their goal line and continuously hammered our defenders but just couldn’t break through. The Roos then put a chip kick over everyone’s heads, but it reached the hands of Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who took off up the field, running 80m to score unopposed under the posts. He converted his own try and took the score to 52-8 with 4 minutes on the clock.
Determined not to go down without a fight, Wyong again went on the attack and this time they made it through, with #18 stepping around a few of our players and planting the ball under the posts.
FULL TIME: 52-14 Panthers