The Panthers NYC side have kicked off their pre-season trials in stunning fashion with a convincing 36-20 win over the Roosters.

In hot and sunny conditions at Morrie Breen Oval on the Central Coast, Penrith’s youngsters outclassed a very powerful opposition in a brilliant display of defence and crafty ball play.

Here’s how the match played out.

The Panthers started strongly with some flashy footwork from Soni Luke which almost led to a corner post try in the opening minutes. The Panthers were up near their try line again within 4 minutes and were unfortunate not to score off an impressive grubber kick to the same corner.

Our attack continued and after running the same type of play and coming close to scoring again, our persistence finally paid off with Paea Pua crashing over the line, underneath posts for the first try of the day. Dylan Edwards converted straight through the uprights to give Penrith an early 6-0 lead.

A mistake on the kick off from Penrith handed easy possession to the Roosters who almost scored off their first set of six, but Penrith’s defence held strong. A quick play of the ball from the home team gave them their first try off the next set, with their five-eight breaching a hole in their defence. The kick levelled the score at 6-6.

Then a Roosters error from the kick off provided the Panthers with another opportunity to get ahead. Soni Luke hit a gap on the right hand side of the field and crashed through two defenders to dive over close to the posts in the 20th minute. Edwards sent the ball through the posts again to edge us ahead 12-6.

A penalty against the Panthers had them reeling back on their own 30 metre line early in this quarter, but a strong hit from Pua showed the Roosters that the game was far from over. The team did not waste their possession, with an attempted strip from the Roosters gaining the Panthers another 30 metres. Quick ball-work delivered a golden pass into the hands of Fuimanau Enese, but the winger was denied after an impressive dive into that favoured left hand corner just before half time.

QUARTER TIME: 12-6 Panthers

Coach Cameron Ciraldo’s decision to run some fresh legs breathed even more life into the Panthers side in their second quarter challenge. A Roosters mistake handed Penrith possession early on, and with a quick ball from Jordan Finlayson, Kaide Ellis crashed over the try line to score. Nick Greenhalgh’s kick sailed easily over the uprights to extend Penrith’s 18-6 lead.

The Panthers were capitalising on every Roosters fumble, and after a perfect set-up from Jake Steadman, Jack Ennis dived over in the left hand corner. The conversion missed, so the score went to 22 -6.  

The Roosters were next to score after a surging run from five-eight Connor Watson which resulted in a try next to the right hand post, and with an easy conversion from their fullback they were back in the game 22-12.

HALF-TIME: 22-12 Panthers

Penrith continued their strong attacking game and we scored our next try in the opening minute of this quarter after Tyrone May put a huge bomb up, which found the hands of Jake Steadman who ran over the line to score. The conversion took the score to 28-12.

The Roosters fired back soon after thanks to a Penrith mistake, with Brian Turner crashing over the line just left of the uprights. The kick was waved away; 28-16.

They backed that up with another 4 pointer in the next play, narrowing our lead to 28-20.

THREE-QUARTER TIME: 28-20 Panthers

Both teams showed no signs of tiring despite the hot conditions in Wyong, but it was the Panthers who crossed next thanks to an inspired run from Cameron Collins, who shifted the ball to Jake Ennis, and he dived over in the corner to score. The kick missed, so Penrith extended their lead once again to 32-20.

For the next 15 minutes the ball changed hands several times, with both teams desperate to put a few more points on the board. Penrith capitalised on one final opportunity in the final minute of the game, when Stanton Albert collected a pass and crashed his way over the line under the posts. The drop kick conversion missed just as the full time siren sounded, so the Panthers sealed a 36-20 win!

FULL TIME: 36-20 Panthers