The Panthers have put on an impressive show to defeat the Illawarra Cutters 42-6 in the NSW Cup semi-final at Leichardt Oval this afternoon.
Despite conditions being a little slippery under foot, the rain held off for the match and gave both sides a chance to play some good footy!
The Panthers scored the first points of the day after forcing a goal-line drop out and then running the ball up to within 10m, where Tom Humble collected a pass from a few metres out and charged forward just enough to stretch his arm out to score! Wes Naiqama converted to give Penrith a 6-0 lead, 5 minutes into the match.
Our second try came in the 11th minute after some beautiful ball work got us up to our 10m line where we spread the play from one side of the field to the other, before Kieran Moss flicked a great pass to Kevin Naiqama, who offloaded to Eto Nabuli on the wing, and he sprinted down the sideline to get the points. Wes’ kick hit the posts, so the score went to 10-6.
Penrith dominated play for the next 20 minutes and put a lot of pressure on the Cutters defenders, before finally breaking through for another try! After driving the ball up to our line, Kierran Moseley put a nice little grubber kick over to the right of the in-goal and Waqa Blake stormed in and got it down! Wes sent the ball straight through the uprights to extend the Panthers lead to 16-0.
Just before the half time siren sounded, Penrith put a high bomb up after the fifth tackle and took full advantage of the tired Illawarra players, with Luke Capewell chasing hard and leaping into the air to bat the ball towards the in-goal before sprinting after it and grounding it just inside the dead ball line. The conversion took the score to 22-0 into the half time break.
HALF TIME: 22-0 Panthers
We scored our fifth unanswered try 6 minutes into the second half after a Cutters fumble saw the ball hit the deck right near the sideline, before Kev Naiqama scooped it up and sprinted 40m towards our goal line. A few quick passes then saw Luke Capewell sidestep a defender and almost make it over, but he offloaded perfectly to Nabuli who dived over to score. The kick was waved away so the score went to 26-0.
In the 59th minute Tom Humble crossed for his second try after the Panthers were awarded a penalty for a shoulder charge on Mitch Clark. We were just past the half way line and got the ball up to the 10m where Tommy barged his way through a pack of defenders and fell over the line to score. Wes’s conversion extended Penrith’s lead to 32-0.
A few minutes later we were in again after a beautifully timed kick on the fifth was chased by a Cutters defender who was convinced the ball was going out, until Waqa Blake charged in and slid down beside him to get a hand to the ball before it rolled out. The kick sailed away from the posts, so the score went to 36-0, with 16 minutes on the clock.
Humble then scored his hat trick after intercepting a Cutters pass 20m out from their line and taking off down the field, sprinting the full 80m unassisted before diving in under the posts. The kick from in front put us ahead 42-0, with 10 minutes remaining.
In the dying seconds of the match, Illawarra managed to cross the line for a consolation try as the final siren sounded, and with the conversion the match finished at 42-6.
FULL TIME: 42-6 Panthers