The Panthers Under 20’s side is into the NYC top 8 after a solid 26-18 win over the Dragons at Win Stadium today!
Despite conceding a couple of tries, Penrith’s defensive efforts were outstanding today, boosted by the strength and experience of players like Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Kierran Moseley and Waqa Blake who have recently played in our first grade and NSW Cup sides.
Penrith drew first blood five minutes into the game after being awarded a penalty on our 10m line, earning us back to back sets. After being pushed back a couple of times, Chris Smith finally found enough of a gap in the Dragons back line and barged his way over to get the ball down. Jarrod Brackenhofer converted, giving Penrith a 6-0 lead.
We had our second try 13 minutes in after Robert Jennings intercepted a pass on our 30m line and took off down the field before being brought down about 10m out. The ball was then sent right where Kierran Moseley put a perfect little grubber kick into the in-goal, and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak ran up and dived onto it. The kick was waved away, so the score went to 10-0.
With nine minutes until the half time break, we crossed for our third unanswered try after running the ball up to our line where Dallin flicked the ball left to Robert Jennings who offloaded to Christian Crichton on the wing, and he sprinted up the sideline to get the ball down before being taken out by a Dragons defender. The kick went straight through the uprights, giving the Panthers a 16-0 lead.
A few minutes later St George Illawarra hit back and scored their first try after hooker Hayden McCrae broke through several tackle attempts before side-stepping a couple of our defenders to run the ball in behind the posts. The kick from in front took the score to 16-6.
HALF TIME: 16-6 Panthers
The Dragons scored first in this half, when centre Euan Aitken crashed over in the corner in the 51st minute of the match, despite the best efforts of the Panthers pack, who had defended their line well until then. The conversion narrowed the score to 16-12.
In was another 15 minutes before any more points were scored, and it was the Panthers who added to their tally when they sent the ball across the field to Peter Tia Tia, who ran at the line and flicked the ball to Crichton on the wing, and he dived over just inside the corner post. The kick missed, so Penrith took a 20-12 lead.
With four minutes until the full time siren the Dragons scored again after a line break, with Shannon Crook collecting the ball from 10m out and running it over the line. The conversion narrowed the margin to two.
The last few minutes of the match were extremely tense with St George Illawarra doing everything they could to try and steal the win. They came very close to getting over the line again in the final minute of the game but Penrith’s defence held strong and we managed to hold them out.
With less than 30 seconds on the clock the Dragons had one last play, putting a chip kick up towards their line, but it went horribly wrong for them and the ball landed back in Brendan Attwood’s hands 20m out from our line. He soon came under pressure so flicked it to Bracks, who ran over the line to score!
FULL TIME: 26-18 Panthers