The Panthers Under 20’s have been beaten 16-14 by the West Tigers in a closely contested trial match at Windsor Sporting Complex this evening.
Played in muggy conditions in light rain, it was a scrappy game with plenty of mistakes from both teams, but the defence from both sides in the middle of the park was outstanding.
The Tigers put the first points on the board a few minutes into the game after running the ball up to their 10m line where their #4 sidestepped a Panthers defender and barged his way through another couple of players, to get the ball down over the line. The kick was waved away so the Tigers took an early 4-0 lead.
The Panthers hit back in the 16th minute when Soni Luke found some space up the middle and sprinted past the Tigers back line to dive over next to the posts. Dylan Edwards converted to put Penrith ahead 6-4.
For the next 20 minutes the ball was passed from one end of the field to the other with no end result from either side. Both teams were getting obviously frustrated until 3 minutes out from the half time break when the Panthers scored again. This time it was big Thompson Tuigamala who was handed the ball right in front of the posts, and he lurched forward to fall through a pack of defenders and get the ball down. 10-4
HALF TIME: 10-4 Panthers
It was a messy start to the half with dropped balls and penalties from both sides in the opening 5 minutes, but it was the Tigers who scored next when their speedy #23 darted through our defenders and dived over the line. There was no conversion so the score went to 10-8.
Just before the second half drinks break the Tigers were over again after being awarded a penalty within their 10m line. After spreading the ball from one side to the other, their centre collected it on the left wing and ran through a hole to dive over and score, putting them ahead for the first time in the match 12-10.
Penrith weren’t giving up without a fight though, and with 11 minutes remaining, winger Fuimanau Enise chased down a Tigers defender after a grubber kick and beat him to the ball, before scooping it up and sprinting 15m to the line. The try handed the Panthers the lead 14-12.
A Panthers handling error handed the Tigers possession with less than 5 minutes on the clock and the y capitalised with a try to their winger, over in the left corner. It put them ahead 16-14.
FULL TIME: 16-14 Wests Tigers