The Panthers NYC are celebrating tonight after posting their first win of the season in spectacular fashion, beating the Canberra Raiders 42-12 at Sportingbet Stadium.
It was a game riddled with mistakes and errors from both sides, with more stoppages and whistle blows than tries. Penrith’s youngsters got off to a good start and within the first couple of minutes we’d forced a few errors from Canberra and had edged the ball up our end of the field. After a couple of nudges at our line, Sione Katoa sent a beautiful ball into some open space for Brendan Attwood to run onto, before dancing over the line to score under the posts! Bryce Cartwright converted from in front, and the home side took an early 6-0 lead.
But a few minutes later, the Raiders returned fire with a try of their own through centre Brenko Lee, who stepped around the back of the Panthers pack on their 20m line, and sprinted towards the corner post to score. The conversion missed, so the Panthers held onto the lead 6-4.
Penrith then came under some intense pressure when the Raiders were awarded back to back sets, 10m out from their line, but they withstood the attack and eventually a dropped ball forced the turnover. The Panthers made the most of it and almost had another try on the board when Brent Naden took off and barged his way into the Raiders backline, tossing the ball out to the side where he thought winger Eddie Aiono was, but he was slightly off target and it went out.
It was Canberra who eventually added to their tally thanks to a brilliant ball out to their left winger, who had plenty of space to move because our defenders were drawn into the centre of the field, so he took off down the sideline and dived over to score. Again the conversion missed, so the Raiders took the lead 8-6, with 18 minutes on the clock.
Over the next 10 minutes the Panthers copped numerous back to back penalties, which saw the Raiders slowly creep up the field to attack their line, but our defence held and we managed to keep them out. Another penalty then saw Jordan Hall sent off for 10 minutes, which had the Panthers down to 12 men. But with 6 minutes on the clock it didn’t seem to bother us because we got our next try!
It came courtesy of Sam Scarlett who took the ball from dummy half 30m out, and motored towards our line, pushing through several defenders and even dragging one over the line with him! Cartright’s kick bounced off the post so Penrith regained the lead 10-8.
For the next few minutes both sides took turns with the ball, but didn’t make much ground, so the Panthers took a 2 point lead into the half time break.
HALF TIME: 10-8 Panthers
The half time break seemed to have reinvigorated the home side who came out swinging, and had their next try within 3 minutes! It came after the ball was sent across the field through Scarlett, Cartwright and then Blake, who flicked a beautiful ball to Josh Jay on the wing, who then ran around a defender and dived over the line to score. The kick was off-target so the score went to 14-8, four minutes into the half.
We backed that up in the next play with another try again on our right side, after Scarlett offloaded to fullback Logan Geyer, who tossed a ball into some space to give Blake plenty of room to run onto it and over the line! Corey Harawira took the kick this time and got it through the uprights, and Penrith extended their lead to 20-8.
We made it a second half unanswered hat trick when Cartwright stormed onto a pass right in front of the posts on the 10m line and left the Raiders defence a little stunned, as he jogged straight through them and got the ball down. Harawira converted and took the score to 26-8.
Penrith was on fire and in the 56th minute we were over again! Scarlett put a bomb up from the centre of the field to the right side where Blake jumped up and plucked it out of the air, dodged a couple of defenders and ran into score. With Harawira’s conversion, the Panthers blew the score out to 32-8.
For the next 15 minutes, the Panthers held possession and played some very good football in the centre of the park, getting close to their line and rarely letting the Raiders get anywhere near their end. Then, with 10 minutes on the clock, big Wellington Albert scored his first ever try after taking the ball on the 30m line and running over several Canberra defenders to ground the ball! Harawira was on target with the kick and the score went to 38-8.
The Raiders managed one more try before the end of the game, with Andrew Heffernan finding a hole in our backline and running straight through the score.
The final nail in the coffin for the Panthers was a spectacular run from Eddie Aiono, who picked the ball up off a Raiders kick and sprinted 80m down the sideline to score. The conversion missed, but it didn’t matter because Penrith had secured their first win of the season!
FULL TIME: 42-12 Panthers