Penrith’s Under 20’s team have posted a spectacular win in front of a home crowd, beating the Broncos 50-18 at Sportingbet Stadium.
After a few losses in recent weeks, Trent Barrett’s boys found their feet tonight and set the wheels in motion for one of their better performances of the season. Just before kick-off we had confirmation that Captain Andy Saunders and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak would be returning to the side which was a huge boost.
We got off to a bit of a shaky start with the Broncos opening the scoring in the second minute of the match after lock Jai Arrow broke through our defence and made it up to the 10m line before being pulled down. The ball then went left to halfback Ashley Taylor who threw a beautiful cut out pass to winger Paul Byrnes, who plucked the ball out of the air and grounded it just inside the sideline. With the conversion, the visitors had a 6-0 lead.
But the Panthers hit back a few minutes later after some very quick passes to our left wing where Brent Naden flicked the ball to Eddie Aiono on the sideline, and he beat two Broncos defenders to dive over and score! Corey Harawira-Naera missed the tricky sideline conversion, so the score went to 6-4.
10 minutes later we scored again after Brendan Attwood collected the ball from dummy half and ran hard at our line, barrelling his way into a pack of defenders before spinning backwards and falling over the line. Harawira-Naera sent the ball straight through the posts to put Penrith ahead 10-6, with 20 minutes until the break.
For the next 15 minutes the ball travelled up and down the field with both teams unable to get over the line, until the Broncos finally pushed their way over down the left side again. The kick was on target, so once again Brisbane took the lead 12-10 with less than 5 minutes on the clock.
HALF TIME: 12-10 Broncos
It was a much better start to the second half with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak scoring our next try in the 45th minute, after breaking through several tackles and diving towards the line before stretching his arm out to get the ball down! Harawira-Naera sent the ball straight through the uprights to give the Panthers s 16-12 lead.
A few minutes later we were over again after five-eighth Jarrod Brackenhofer put the ball into a hole for Chris Smith, who ran straight through several Brisbane defenders and over the line to score! With the conversion, Penrith extended their lead to 22-12.
We made it three in a row in our next set of six after Josh Jay took a beautiful cross field bomb just shy of the 10m line and broke through a tackle to run the ball in to score! The kick went straight through the posts, and the home side streaked ahead 28-12, with 55 minutes gone.
Corey Harawira-Naera scored our fourth unanswered try after Brackenhofer ran the ball up the centre of the field to the 10m line before being dragged down. It was then sent right through a couple of hand before Watene-Zelezniak tossed it to Harawira-Naera who dragged a pack of defenders over the line to score. The kick was waved away, but the home side was looking comfortable with a 32-12 lead.
In the 63rd minute Chris Smith got his second try of the night in spectacular fashion, snatching the ball just past the halfway line and taking off down the field, breaking through two tackles and beating a handful of defenders to sprint over the line to score! With the conversion the score went to 38-12.
Four minutes later we scored again after Sam Scarlett picked up a loose ball from 40m out and dodged a few Brisbane players before high tailing it down the field, offloading to Watene-Zelezniak who took it the rest of the way! The kick was right on target, extending Penrith’s lead to 44-12.
With 9 minutes remaining Brisbane crossed for their next try with lock Jai Arrow getting the ball up to their line before spinning out of a tackle to get it over the line. With the conversion the score went to 44-18.
Watene-Zelezniak put the icing on the cake with his third try of the night after Harawira-Naera found a hole in the Broncos defence and he sprinted down the field, passing to DWZ on his inside, and he took it over the line. The conversion put 50 points on the board for the Panthers youngsters with less than 5 minutes until the siren.
FULL TIME: 50-18 Panthers