Penrith’s Under 20’s have kicked off our Bathurst campaign in super fashion, beating the Sharks 18-14 at Carrington Park.
Heavy rain had left the field quite soggy so play was a little messy in the first half of this game as players adapted to the wet conditions, but as the sky cleared and the sun came out, the Panthers put in a good performance to get the win, and keep them in top 8 contention.
The Panthers scored first in the wet and sludgy conditions after running the ball up to our 10m line where Brent Naden threw a perfectly timed pass to Eddie Aiono on the wing, and he dived over the line, taking the corner post with him. With Corey Harawira-Naera out injured this week, Jarrod Brackenhofer took the sideline conversion but it was waved away, so Penrith took a 4-0 lead, six minutes in.
The Sharks hit back in the 17th minute after taking a quick tap and gaining 40m, before running the ball up to their line where fullback Valentine Holmes collected a short ball and barged his way over the line. The kick from in front missed, so the scores drew even at 4-4.
With 2 and a half minutes until the half time break, Brent Naden put the Panthers out in front again after getting the ball about 15m out from our line and breaking through a tackle to sprint to the line and dive over to score! The kick missed so the score went to 8-4.
HALF TIME: 8-4 Panthers
Penrith drew first blood in the second half after Brackenhofer put a grubber kick in and it bounced off a Cronulla defender and ended up back in the hands of the Panthers, with Sam Scarlett dodging a few players and running it over the line. The kick was on target this time and the home side extended their lead to 14-4, with just a few minutes gone.
It would be another 10 minutes before the next try was scored and it was Cronulla who added points to the board after they ran a great short side play and Joshua Addo-Carr beat our defenders to the line. With the conversion, the Sharks narrowed the score to 14-10.
But we hit back in the 64th minute when young Robert Jennings put a nice step on a Sharks defender before busting through their backline to run the ball over the line. The kick missed though, so the score went to 18-10.
With 13 minutes remaining, the Sharks put another one on the board after a last minute grubber kick from the 10m line landed in some open space on the wing, and Finlay Dibley ran onto it to score. The kick was waved away though, so the Panthers held onto a 4 point lead – 18-14.
For the remainder of the game Penrith defended their line superbly and thwarted several try attempts by the Sharks, to hang onto the lead and win the game!
FULL TIME: 18-14 Panthers
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