The Panthers Under 20’s have suffered a disappointing loss to the Wests Tigers, going down 30-18 in a hard fought battle at Leichardt Oval.
Nothing seemed to go our way in the match today, with countless errors in defence and a dominant Tigers side that capitalised on every mistake, we were caught off-guard from the kick-off and just couldn’t get on top of the dominant side.
In the 9th minute of the match the Tigers scored the first try of the day. After back to back sets up their end, they sent the ball from one side of the field to the other, before drawing our winger off his mark to leave John Tohi with enough room to sprint up the sideline and dive over the line. The conversion was waived away, so the home side took a 4-0 lead.
They backed that up a few minutes later when centre Watson Heleta barged his way through our right wing and fell over the line to score with a couple of Panthers players hanging off him. The kick was on target this time, so the score went to 10-0.
In the 16th minute the Tigers had their third try after the Panthers dropped the ball on the kick off. That handed possession back to the home side, and after couple of tackles, big John Ogden collected the ball 10m out and charged at the line, giving Penrith’s defenders no hope of stopping him. The kick missed so the Tigers extended their lead to 14-0.
Ogden bagged a double in the 22nd minute after dishing out an almost identical play to his first try, simply waiting patiently on the wing for the ball to come to him and then barrelling over the line. The conversion was unsuccessful so the score went to 18-0, and things were not looking good for the Panthers who were struggling to get any time with the ball.
With 10 minutes until the half time break, the Tigers scored their fifth unanswered try when Manaia Cherrington got the ball about a metre out from the line and managed to roll himself over the top of a group of Panthers defenders to get the ball down. The kick went straight through the uprights, blowing the Tigers lead out to 24-0.
HALF TIME: 24-0 Wests Tigers
It was a much better start for the Panthers in this half and we opened the scoring with a try to Sam Scarlett, who took the ball from dummy half, dodged a few defenders and dived over to score. Corey Harawira-Naera converted, taking the score to 24-6.
A few minutes later we were in again, when Atonio Pelesasa picked the ball up inside the 10m line and charged at the line, barging his way over just left of the postd. Harawira-Naera’s kick went straight through the uprights, and the Panthers were on the comeback 24-12, with 30 minutes remaining.
In the 62nd minute the home side hit back after we fumbled the catch from a high bomb which landed in the Tigers in-goal, and they dived on the ball and grounded it. With the conversion, they pushed their lead out to 30-12.
With two minutes remaining, Sione Katoa scored the final try of the day, breaking through the Tigers defence and sprinting 30m to steam across the line under the posts. Harawira-Naera converted, taking the score to 30-18.
FULL TIME: 30-18 Wests Tigers