The Panthers have officially taken the NSW Cup minor premiership home in style, capping off a brilliant season with a 44-12 win over Wentworthville at Sportingbet Stadium today.
Despite having a depleted side due to first grade injury call ups, Garth Brennan’s men produced a classy performance and were brilliant in defence throughout, and will head into next week’s semi-final with a boost of confidence.
The Magpies just couldn’t find their feet today and struggled to keep up with Penrith’s quick ball work and fast legs. We got off to a cracking start and scored their first try off their first set, in the second minute of the match, when Eto Nabuli was handed the ball from 15m out and he dodged a couple of Wentworthville defenders and dived over the line! Wes Naiqama’s kick was waved away, so the home side took a 4-0 lead.
The Magpies hit back in the 9th minute after being awarded a penalty inside the 10m line. They sent the ball from the left of the field to the centre, and big Lionel O’Mally barged his way over the line right next to the uprights. The kick from in front went straight through the uprights, giving them a 6-4 lead.
Five minutes later the Panthers were in again after Lani Latu broke through the Wenty backline and stormed off down the field from 40m out before passing to Kieran Moss, who took the ball the rest of the way. Naiqama’s kick was on target this time, putting Penrith in front 10-6.
We crossed for our third try a few minutes later when Kevin Naiqama found some space over the left side of the field, ran through the Magpies defence and jogged the ball in behind the posts. Brother Wes converted to extend the Panthers lead to 16-6.
With 8 minutes until the half time break, Kieran Moss crossed for his second try of the day after collecting a beautiful cut out pass from Kev Naiqama, who had broken through a tackle and sprinted down the sideline to get us within 20m. Wes’s kick put the home side in front 22-6.
HALF TIME: 22-6 Panthers
Penrith was first to put points on the board nine minutes into this half when Tom Humble took full advantage of the new quick-tap rule and left Wentworthville completely behind the 8-ball, taking off down the field from the 20m line and sprinting the full 80m to get the ball under the posts. The kick took the score to 28-6
A few minutes later we were in again after a great pass put Moss into some space and he bolted through the Magpies backline before passing to Liam Ayoub who ran the last 30m to score. Naiqama’s kick extended our lead even further to 34-6.
Our third unanswered try this half came in the 57th minute when Sakeo Dibeci collected a great ball on the sideline and sprinted 10m to dive over just inside the corner post. The kick was waved away, so the score went to 38-6.
Some quick thinking from Wes Naiqama then put him over for our next four-pointer. Humble made a break near the halfway line and ran towards our line before facing some pressure from the Magpies, so he put a chip kick in which bounced in some open space. Wes ran in and dodged a defender while collecting the ball, and then he dived over the line! He then booted the very tricky sideline conversion to put the Panthers ahead 44-6, with 18 minutes on the clock.
With less than three minutes remaining, the Magpies managed to get over the line for their second try, after being awarded a penalty on the 10m line. They sent the ball from one side of the field to the other, before winger Cecil Mckenzie found enough room to run a few metres up the sideline and get the ball down. The kick was on target, taking the score to 44-12.
FULL TIME: 44-12 Panthers