The Panthers NSW Cup side have scored a convincing win over Manly, running in 8 tries to 2 for a 42-8 victory at Brookvale Oval.
In was a very heated game at times with the two sides coming to blows on several occasions, and there were also plenty of mistakes and penalties. The Panthers were aggressive in attack but they lacked discipline at times, and if it hadn’t been for repeated errors from the Sea Eagles, the score line may have been very different.
Sam Anderson, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Tom Humble were stand out performers in defence, while Eto Nabuli, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Kevin Naiqama scored two tries each.
We opened the scoring in the second minute of the match after sending the ball left from the centre of the field on the half way line, Kieran Moss opened up a bit of space for Kevin Naiqama, who ran the sideline before offloading to Eto Nabuli, who sprinted the last 20m and dived over the line. Will Smith converted from the sideline to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead.
We added another 4 points to our total soon after that thanks to a beautifully placed bomb put up by Bryce Cartwright, which bounced off the hands of Eto Nabuli and a Manly player and hit the ground in some open space, before Nathan Smith picked it up and ran it over the line. The kick was waived away, so the score went to 10-0.
For the next 10 minutes the Sea Eagles put a bit of pressure on Penrith’s backline, forcing back to back line drop outs and coming within metres of their line. But our defence was outstanding and we didn’t let them through.
We had our third unanswered try 17 minutes in after a brilliant cut-out pass from Will Smith on the 30m line, which found the hands of Nabuli on the sideline. He stepped around a couple of defenders before batting the ball off to Kevin Naiqama, who dodged a group of defenders to get the ball over the line. Smith’s conversion extended our lead to 16-0, with 20 minutes gone.
In the 25th minutes, the home side finally put their first points on the board after being awarded a repeat set on their 10m line. After several attempts at breaking our defence, they finally barged their way over to get the ball down. The conversion missed, so the score went to 16-4.
We answered back 10 minutes later when Tom Humble put a grubber kick over to the right corner on the 10m line, and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak ran onto it and scored. Smith’s kick was just off target, so Penrith’s lead went to 20-4 with less than 2 minutes until the half time siren.
HALF TIME: 20-4 Panthers
The start of the second half was like deja vous for the Panthers, with Flying Fijian Eto Nabuli running in a try in the first few minutes. After getting the ball on the sideline, he took off down the field, breaking through several tackles and palming a number of defenders off, before diving over to score. Smith’s kick missed, so the score went to 24-4.
A couple of minutes later we were over again, with Kev Naiqama running exactly the same play down the left side of the field, and dodging a couple of defenders before running the ball over the line. Smith’s kick went straight through the uprights this time, extending our lead to 30-4.
We made it three in a row when Tom Humble got a nice ball to Waqa Blake on our 40m line and he took off down the field before offloading to Ben Murdoch-Masila, who literally ran into a bunch of Manly defenders, bounced off them and managed to get the ball to Kieran Moss, who took it over the line. Smith’s conversion made the score 36-4, in the 50th minute.
In the 60th minute Penrith got sloppy and let the home side in for another try. After a couple of attempts at burrowing their way over, they drew our defenders in before sending the ball left, where their #15 found a gap and jogged over the line to score. The kick was off target, so the score went to 36-8.
10 minutes later Eto Nabuli gave us our next try after finding a hole in the Sea Eagles back line and taking off down the field. He dodged a couple of defenders and pushed another couple out of the way, before passing to Dallin who took the ball the rest of the way. Smith converted from in front, giving the Panthers a 42-8 lead, with less than 10 minutes on the clock.
For the final minutes of the match, the Panthers attacked hard at their line and rarely let Manly get up their end of the field.
FULL TIME: 42-8 Panthers