A combined Panthers NRL and NSW Cup side has beaten Wyong 36-8 in their first trial match of the year.
It was still sunny and quite warm when the game kicked off at Morrie Breen Oval this evening, and despite a few handling mistakes, Penrith put in a solid performance and defended very well to come away with the win.
The Panthers looked strong in the opening minutes of the game and were attacking fiercely against a Wyong side that was heavily stacked with NRL experience.
After applying some good pressure up our end with repeat sets, we opened the scoring 12 minutes into the game with a try to Ratu Luke Nadurutalo, who barged his way over the top of a group of Wyong defenders to get the ball over the line. Adrian Davis missed the conversion, so Penrith took a 4-0 lead.
We backed that up six minutes later when Tupou Sopoaga sent a beautifully timed cut out pass to an unmarked Eddie Aiono on the right wing, and he sprinted 15m down the sideline to score. This time Davis’ conversion was successful, extending the Panthers’ lead to 10-0 as the siren sounded.
QUARTER TIME: 10-0 Panthers
Wyong drew first blood in this quarter when Blake Ferguson crashed through a pack of Panthers defenders and dived over to score in the 24th minute. The kick was waved away though, so the score went to 10-4.
Ferguson backed that up with another try in the 30th minute, running through a hole in our defence to get the ball down to the right of the posts. The conversion missed again, so Penrith held onto the lead 10-8.
But the Panthers soon fired back with their third try of the day, courtesy of a perfectly timed offload from Paul Simona to Aiono on the wing, who ran around a Wyong defender to touch the ball down. Davis curled the ball around brilliantly to get the conversion, extending our lead to 16-8.
HALF TIME: 16-8 Panthers
Penrith scored the first points of this half thanks to a line break by Nu’u Akeripa who broke through two tackles and sprinted 40m down the field, before offloading to Wellinton Albert on the wing, who ran over the line to score. The kick was just off target, so the score went to 20-8.
Big Ben Murdoch-Masila crossed for our next try in the 36th minute after collecting a nice pass just shy of the line, and running over to get the ball down. Davis converted to put Penrith head 26-8.
THREE QUARTER TIME: 26-8 Panthers
For the first 10 minutes of this quarter the ball was sent from one end of the field to the other without any result. Then, with just over 7 minutes remaining in the game the Panthers scored again, courtesy of a blistering run from Akeripa who again broke through several tackles to crash over the line. Jarrod Brackenhofer took the kick this time and sent it straight through the posts, extending Penrith’s lead to 32-8.
In the dying seconds of the match, young Christian Crichton broke through the Roos backline and took off down the field, sprinting 40m to score unopposed just as the full time siren sounded.
FULL TIME: 36-8 Panthers