With doomsday looking sky and very slippery, wet conditions at Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith’s Under 20’s team have been defeated by the Storm 22-20, their first loss in five weeks.
The soggy field meant plenty of handling errors from both sides, but we still got to see some good footy from both teams in a tightly contested match.
It took 20 minutes for the first points to be scored, and it was the Panthers who scored first! After being awarded a penalty from 30m out, Penrith ran the ball up to the line before spreading it wide to the right, where Waqa Blake managed to barge his way over to score just inside the corner post. Jarrod Brackenhofer made the tricky sideline conversion, giving the home side a 6-0 lead.
The Storm hit back five minutes later when centre Una Mohi found a hole in our backline and dived through it to score. The conversion evened the score at 6-6, with 13 minutes until the half time break.
As the rain set in, the remainder of the first half turned into a grinding affair, with most of the football being played in the middle of the field, and with a number of errors from both sides, the teams went into halftime locked at 6-6.
HALF TIME: 6-6
Penrith took the lead once again five minutes into the second half, after Kierran Moseley picked the ball up from dummy half and faked behind him before sending the ball to Peter Tia Tia who had some open space in front of him, and he ran straight through two defenders to touch the ball down behind the posts. Bracks sent the ball through the uprights to put us in front 12-6.
A couple of minutes later we were awarded a penalty right in front of the posts, so Bracks kicked for two to take the score to 14-6.
In the 55th minute, the Panthers scored again after some beautiful footwork by Brent Naden. After collecting the ball from 15m out, he dummied left and caught the Storm completely off guard before running through some space and over the line. Bracks converted to extend Penrith’s lead to 20-6.
But Melbourne wasn’t giving up without a fight and with 20 minutes left on the clock they crossed for their second try. After drawing our defenders off their mark on the wing and then spreading the ball wide, Tremaine Jensen stormed up the sideline and dived over just inside the corner post. The kick was struck beautifully, so the scoreline narrowed to 20-12.
The Panthers’ lead was cut to just four point when Melbourne hooker and Captain Billy Brittain burrowed his way across the line in the 67th minute. The conversion was unsuccessful and the score remained 20-16.
Melbourne continued their momentum just five minutes later when winger Tony Tumusa made his away across the line under a number of defenders in the right hand corner. The conversion, this time, was successful and Melbourne hit the lead for the first time in the match 22-20.
Melbourne controlled the last five minutes whilst Penrith struggled with handling errors, resulting in the score line remaining 22-20. This loss is the first for the young Panthers outfit in five weeks. They will need to regroup for next week in another important clash in the fight for a top 8 spot.
FULLTIME: Melbourne 22 Penrith 20