Perfect football conditions greeted the Penrith Panthers and Wyong Roos at Sportingbet Stadium. The Panthers were looking to stay atop the VB NSW Cup ladder with a strong performance following last week’s one point victory against the Illawarra Cutters.
Penrith started strongly and a repeat set of six was what they needed as Keirran Moseley took the line on and went straight through. He found Matt Robinson in support who finished the great run in the third minute of play. Wes Naiqama converted to put the Panthers up by 6.
Penrith dominated theopening stanza and in the 13th minute Tom Humble orchestrated a nice backline play and found Dallin Watene Zelezniak with some space and he did the rest with style. Wes Naiqama narrowly missed the conversion from out wide.
Wyong started to find their feat midway through the half and scored a nice try on the 20 minute mark. Tekina Vailea was on the end of a nice pass close to the line and he dragged two men over the line to bridge the gap back to six points.
Wyong went in for back to back tries through Bennett Leslie. A nice blind side play saw him comfortably get over the line. Mark Kheirallah slotted the conversion to tie the game up at 10 points apiece.
As the game looked to be shifting the way of the Roos Kieran Moss swung momentum back the Panthers way as he picked up a poor kick on his line and ran the length of the field untouched to give Penrith a 4 point lead.
The Panthers were sloppy coming out of their own half and were lucky to escape without conceding a late first half try in the 35th minute as Grant Nelson put a pass down with a clear look at the line.
Penrith received back to back penalties to finish the half. They opted to take the two points as the clock wound down to end the first half. Will Smith converted and put the Panthers up by 6 at the break.
HALF TIME – Penrith 16-10
Penrith shot out of the blocks in the second half after an early error by the Wyong Roos gave the Panthers an attacking set straight after the break.
Eto Nabuli crossed untouched in the 42nd minute after receiving a nice inside ball by Kevin Naiqama. Will Smith converted the try to put us up by 12.
After not seeing much ball in the first half Nabuli was on the end of a beautiful through the legs ball to put him over for his second try three minutes later.
It was a triple treat for Panther fans as Nathan Smith put a nice grubber through for Dallin Watene Zelezniak in the 48th minute. Dallin didn’t have much room to work with but somehow scooped up the ball and dived for the corner to narrowly avoid the oncoming Wyong Roos defender.
Smith converted to take the Panthers to a 32-10 lead.
It wasn’t till the 60th minute that the Roos got on the board in the second half. Jono Ford went through some soft defence right edge.
Wyong went back to back on the next set after a nice break down down their left side was converted a few plays later through Dale Clacheiti. Both Wyong tries had missed conversion attempts as Penrith lead by 14 heading into the final 15.
Nathan Smith was stretchered from the field with 9 minutes remaining as
Brock Molan gave Penrith something to think about as he broke the line with five minutes remaining to score under the posts. The conversion was successful to bring the margin back to 8 points.
The final five minutes had plenty of niggle. Dallin Watene Zelezniak was in the midst of the majority of the action. Firstly he was put on report for an alleged eye gouge then spoke to the referee about an alleged bite by one of the Wyong Roos players.
At the end of an entertaining game of footy the Panthers held on for an eight point win and stay at the top of the NSW Cup ladder.
FULL TIME: Penrith 32 - 24
Penrith Tries: Dallin Watene Zelezniak x 2, Eto Nabuli x 2, Matt Robinson, , Kieran Moss
Penrith Goals: W Naiqama – 1 from 3, W Smith – 3 from 5.
Wyong Tries: Tekina Vailea, Bennett Leslie, Jono Ford, Dale Clacheiti, Brock Molan
Wyong Goals: Mark Kheirallah - 2 from 6