Despite staging a second half comeback, the Panthers have lost their round 4 clash to Newcastle in devastating fashion, going down 18-16 thanks to a last minute penalty kick.
Coach Garth Brennan was forced to make a few last minute changes to his side with Isaac John ruled out in the warm up due to a quad issue. John had been named in our NRL team but after a few changes through the week, Brenno was planning to play him in the halves today.
There was some good news before the kickoff though, with George Jennings cleared to play. He was struggling with fluid on the knee earlier in the week, but that’s cleared up.
From the kickoff there were countless dropped balls, penalties and knock on’s from both teams, along with a few punches! Penrith were shocking in defence throughout the first half but got a little better throughout the second 40 minutes.
Newcastle scored the first points of the day in the 7th minute after running the ball up to their line and moving it around in front of the posts, before sending it to halfback Jaelen Feeney who spotted a hole in our defensive line and lurched forward, getting the ball down and taking a few defenders with him. The kick was off target so the home side took a 4-0 lead.
The Knights were over again in the 22nd minute when hooker Chad Redman collected the ball from Clint Newton about 10m out from their line, he ran a few steps before diving through a couple of Penrith defenders to get the ball down. The kick sailed straight through the posts to put Newcastle in front 10-0.
A few minutes later the Knights had their third unanswered try when Marvin Filipo ran in from 10m out and lost his footing while avoiding a tackle, but with a bit of forward momentum and sheer luck, he slid up and over the line to score! The kick drifted right of the posts so the score went to 14-0 with 11 minutes until the half time break.
In the dying seconds of the half the Knights were awarded a penalty from 40m out and they decided to take a shot at goal, adding an extra two points to the half time score.
HALF TIME: 16-0 Knights
The second half began in horrendous fashion for the Panthers with an awkward bounce from the kickoff handing possession straight back to the Knights. But after 10 minutes of ball fumbles and penalties we finally got it together for a set up our end, and managed to put some points on the board when Nu’u Akeripa stormed through Newcastle’s backline and dived through a group of defenders to get the ball over the line. Will Smith missed the tricky conversion, so the score went to 16-4.
A few minutes later we were over again after Tupou Sopoaga put Waqa Blake into some space 40m out from our line, and he sprinted 25m before offloading to Rodney Coates on his inside who took the ball the rest of the way. Smith was on target with the conversion so we narrowed the score line to 16-10.
In the 66th minute Sam Anderson had to be helped from the field after copping a head knock in a tackle.
With four minutes left in the game, the Panthers levelled the score when Dave Simmons caught a high chip kick and batted it back to Sione Katoa who found a hole in the Knights defence and ran 10m before offloading to Sam Scarlett, and he ran the ball over the line. Smith converted to take the score to 16-16.
In the final minute of the game, Newcastle had two attempts at a drop goal but both were charged down by Penrith. Their third attempt was also charged down, but the ref ruled us off-side and handed the Knights a penalty from in front. The kick for two handed the home side the win.
FULL TIME: 18-16 Knights