The Panthers young guns have notched up their third win in a row with a convincing 26-6 victory over the Dragons at Sportingbet Stadium.
Penrith produced a very impressive defensive effort to limit St George Illawarra to just one try for the whole match, and we were just as strong in attack, running in five tries.
Josh Tangitau was stretchered from the field with a suspected neck injury just after the half time break, but he has been cleared of any serious injury and watched the end of the game from the sideline.
Here’s how the match played out…
The Dragons drew first blood a few minute into the match after the Panthers lost the ball a few metres out from the St George line and it was scooped up with a play-on called. After three tackles, big Wes Lolo found a hole in our defence and ran the ball over the line. Sitiveni Moceidreke converted and the Dragons took an early 6-0 lead.
But the Panthers hit back 5 minutes later when young Peter Tia Tia got the ball on the 10m line, broke through one tackle and then dragged two Dragons defenders over the line with him. Corey Harawira kicked the ball straight through the uprights to even the score 6-6.
We backed that up in the 25th minute with a try to Christian Crichton in the left corner. After a couple of attempts, Harawira found some space and was centimetres outside our line before being held back by St George defenders, but he managed to offload to Crichton who dived up the sideline to score. Harawira’s kick was waved way, so Penrith took a 10-6 lead.
For the next 10 minutes both sides attacked their lines fiercely but couldn’t get passed the other’s defence. That was until Josh Tangitau took the ball from dummy half a metre out from our line, and dived under a bunch of Dragons players to ground the ball. Harawira’s kick bounced off the posts, so the score went to 14-6 with 4 minutes until half time.
HALF TIME: 14-6 Panthers
Both sides got off to a solid start in the second half, attacking hard but defending just as well. Play was stopped six minutes in when Josh Tangitau took an awkward hit in a tackle and had to be stretchered from the field in a neck brace.
We then had another 10 minute period where the ball travelled from one end of the field to the other with no result.
Then in the 64th minute, the Panthers scored their next try thanks to a beautiful ball from Sam Scarlett to Chris Smith, who went barging into several Dragons defenders and bundled them over the line with him. Harawira was on target with the kick this time, and Penrith extended their lead to 20-6.
We backed that up a couple of minutes later when Jarrod Brackenhofer put a chip kick over to the left corner and it bounced once before Crichton picked it up and dived over the line for his second try of the day! Harawira’s kick went straight through the posts, taking the score 26-6, with 11 minutes to go.
The rest of the match was played in the middle of the park with the ball rarely moving too far up one end.
FULL TIME: 26-6 Panthers