In front of a very vocal and enthusiastic crowd at Allianz Stadium, the Roosters have handed the Panthers their first defeat of the season, walking away with a hard fought 20-12 victory tonight.
Despite a cracking effort in defence, we made a few mistakes and we didn’t capitalise on every opportunity near our line, while the Roosters were switched on for the whole 80 minutes.
We came out with fire in our belly tonight and started attacking hard from the kick-off. Three minutes into the match the Panthers were awarded a penalty after Brent Kite was caught up in a crusher tackle. Roosters prop Sam Moa was placed on report.
The Roosters were then awarded back-to-back penalties after a Panthers forward pass and a fail-to-release tackle, and they scored the first try of the night off their set of six. Sending the ball right from 20m out, they drew the Panthers in and spread the ball wide to Shaun Kenny-Dowall who was left unmarked on the wing, and he sprinted 10m to place the ball over the line. James Maloney slotted the conversion from just inside the sideline, giving the home side a 6-0 lead.
In the 18th minute we were awarded a penalty after the Roosters put a high shot on Peter Wallace. The next set saw us float the ball up to our 10m line and with a pass from Wallace to Matt Moylan, out to Dean Whare who then flicked it to his right, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak sprinted to the line and dived over just inside the corner post. The call went to the video ref, and despite multiple reviews of the video showing that Dallin may have had fingertips on the ball as it touched the ground, we were denied the points.
In the 22nd minute James Segeyaro had to be helped from the field after copping a knock to the head and splitting his lip. He was seen by the doctor for treatment and returned to the field soon after.
A few minutes later the Roosters were awarded a penalty for a strip and they took the kick for two points, to extend their lead to 8-0.
In the 31st minute the Roosters came close to scoring their next try after Aiden Guerra got close enough to stretch his arm over the line, but the video ref ruled he made a double movement, and it was play on.
With 5 minutes until the half time break, we almost got over our line but a ball fumble about a metre out gave the Roosters the turnover.
We made up for it with just over 2 minutes remaining when Wallace put a beautiful chip kick over everyone’s heads to the far left corner, Josh Mansour leapt into the air and batted the ball backwards for Jamal Idris to pick it up and dive over a Roosters defender to score! Matt Moylan slotted the very tricky sideline conversion to take the score to 8-6.
HALF TIME: 8-6 Roosters
The Roosters put the first points on the board this half in the 45th minute after running the ball up to their line before Maloney threw a wild pass into open space about 15m out from their line, and Blake Ferguson scooped it up, sidestepped a Panthers defender and dived over to score. Maloney then converted to push their lead out to 14-6.
In the 62nd minute Blake Ferguson scored his second try of the night after the Roosters again stretched our defence wide and left a gaping hole down our left side, where he collected a cut out pass and sprinted over the line. Maloney’s kick added the extra two, putting the home side in front 20-6.
Just when Penrith was looking down and out we were awarded a penalty in the 66th minute. In our next set, Segeyaro did what he does best and broke through the Roosters back line, sprinting 40m down the field to dive under the posts unopposed. Moylan sent the ball through the uprights to take the score to 20-12.
We had a few more attempts at our line in the final 10 minutes of the game and forced the Roosters to defend hard, but we couldn’t break through their backline.
FULL TIME: 20-12 Roosters