On a cloudy afternoon at Pepper Stadium, our NSW Cup boys put in a solid performance to defeat the Wenty Magpies 26-20.
Kieran Moss and Eddie Aiono both scored two tries a piece, while newcomer Nu’u Akeripa played a hand in two scoring plays.
Wenty opened the scoring in the 4th minute of the match when big Ryan Matterson crashed through our backline defence and barged his way across the line. Zach Dockar-Clay converted to put the visitors ahead 6-0.
The Panthers answered back soon after with Eddie Aiono crossing over the line in the 28th minute after some great catch and pass football. The conversion attempt from Isaac John was unsuccessful. This brought the score to 6-4.
The Panthers were the next to score in the 33rd minute with Christian Crichton diving over next to the sideline. Will Smith’s conversion was successful with an impressive strike, taking the score to 10-6.
A few plays later, Will Smith set up our next try after sidestepping past a couple of defenders and breaking into open space, before offloading to Kieran Moss who carried the ball the final 20m to dive under the posts. Smith sent the ball straight through the uprights to extend our lead to 16-6.
On the stroke of half time Aiono scored our 4th try after shrugging off defenders and barging his way over. The conversion attempt from Smith was unsuccessful. It was a strong first half display from the boys who led the Magpies at half-time 20-6.
HALF TIME: 20-6 Panthers
The Panthers were the first to open the scoring in the second half when James Fisher-Harris flicked the ball to Nu’u Akeripa, who set up the runaway try scorer Kieran Moss to extend the lead. Will Smith converted the try to take the score to 26-6.
Wenty hit back in the 57th minute with Daniel Perkins crossing the line in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful and the Panthers were in front 26-10.
In the next play Pat Hollis had to be helped from the field with a suspected ankle injury after getting caught in an awkward tackle.
The Magpies were looking dangerous and soon had their next try when Ben Crooks put the ball over the line after collecting a cross-field chip kick. Dockar-Clay sent the ball straight through the posts for the conversion to bring the score to 26-16.
It wasn’t long before Wenty had their third unanswered try thanks to a chip kick from #23 which led to an aerial contest between several players, with their winger scooping up the loose ball and crashing over to score. The conversion from the sideline was missed, so our boys held onto a 6 point lead 26-20.
The last few minutes of the game, the ball travelled from one end of the field to the other but neither team could get over the line.
FULL TIME: 26-20 PANTHERS.