The Panthers have lost a tough contest against the Warriors in their second trial match of the year, going down 18-4 in Rotorua.

The game kicked off in sunny and warm conditions in Rotorua, with the match played in four 20 minute quarters. It was a high quality trial with both teams showcasing some first class defence and some very skilled attacking plays, despite a high penalty count.

In the first 20 minutes of the match it was clear we were in for a tough contest with both teams trying to work out a way through the opposition’s defence.

In the 23rd minute the Warriors scored the first points of the match after picking up a loose ball on the Panthers 20m line. They carried it 50m before Kieran Moss came across with a try-saving tackle about 20m out from the Kiwi’s line. A quick shift of the ball right across to the other side of the field put Sam Maumalo into some space and he dived over just inside the corner post to score. Shaun Johnson’s kick was waved away, so the home side took a 4-0 lead.

A few minutes later, Penrith had the ball up their end and came very close to scoring, eventually forcing a goal line drop out. On the last tackle in this set, Captain Peter Wallace threw a massive cut out pass to Dean Whare on his right, and he flicked it to Robert Jennings who sprinted up the sideline to get the ball down over the line and score his first NRL try! Jamie Soward’s conversion was just off target, so the score drew level at 4-4 with just under 10 mins until the half time break.

In the dying minute of the match, the Warriors had one last crack at their line but couldn’t get close enough to put any more points on the board.

HALF TIME: 4-4

In the 46th minute the Warriors were over for their second try, courtesy of Maumalo once again. After a few quick passes and a perfectly timed offload by Sam Tomkins, the tall winger was challenged Will Smith on the goal line but eventually managed to get the ball down. Again the kick was waved away, so the home side took an 8-4 lead.

Over the next 15 minutes, both sides starting showing signs of fatigue with a few mistakes making it a bit of a stop-start game. Just after the three-quarter time drinks break, the Kiwi’s scored their next try off the re-start, finding a hole in our defence and running the ball over to score. The conversion was unsuccessful, so the Warriors extended their lead to 12-4.

They ran away with the game in the 66th minute after breaking through the Panthers backline at the 40m mark and taking off into open space. The ball eventually found the hands of Shaun Johnson who jogged to the line surrounded only by his team mates. Townsend converts to open the score up to 18-4, with just over 10 minutes to go.

The rest of the match was messy  and very unorganised, with neither team making much ground.

FULL TIME: 18-4 Warriors