The Panthers have lost their first game since Round 3, narrowly going down to the North Sydney Bears. After a courageous comeback which saw the boys hit the lead late only for the Bears to score two tries to end our winning run.
Here are the highlights from the game.
The Bears grabbed the first try in the 9th minute. Fred Junior Mauala burrowed his way underneath Penrith defenders from close range to slide his was over the try line. His try was converted by Darren Nicholls and the Bears were in front 6-0.
The home team extended their lead in the 18th minute in similar fashion to their first try. Jackson Garlick saw a hole in the Panthers defensive line from the play the ball and he slid through a couple of Penrith boys to plant the ball under the posts. Nicholls kicked the goal and Penrith trailed 12-0.
The Bears went further in front in the 33rd minute. The home side took advantage of some sluggish Panthers defence and got their reward from a set play. The ball went through a few sets of hands behind decoy runners until it found Darryl Millard who swerved past our boys on a diagonal run to score a try in the corner. Nicholls’ conversion was unsuccessful and Norths led 16-0.
HALF-TIME: Bears 16-0
The Panthers started the second half with far more intensity than the first. They put pressure on the Bear’s line and enjoyed a few sets inside the opposition 20 metre zone. This eventually led to a try in the corner for Chris Smith. He got on the end of some tidy short passes and forced his way over with Bears defenders hanging on. Will Smith kicked the goal and the boys decreased the deficit to 16-6.
Penrith continued their fight back in the 55th minute with another try. Will Smith called for the ball from the play the ball, took a second to sum up the situation and found Tom Eisenhuth with a flat-bullet pass to send his winger on a run down the sideline. Smith converted the try and to cut the Bears lead to 16-10.
We scored another try in the 60th minute and the Bears were getting nervous. A line break from Tom Eisenhuth early in the set got the boys on the front foot. A few solid hit-ups and patient play took play into the opposition 20. What followed was exceptional. The boys moved the ball through several pairs of hands, executed decoy runs to perfection and Eddie Aiono caught the ball on the burst to dive over the line. Smith converted the try with a sweet strike through the posts and levelled the score 16-16.
The Panthers hit the lead for the first time in the game with 8 minutes to go. The ref signalled a penalty within goal kicking range and Will Smith slotted over the 2 points to make it 18-16.
The lead didn’t last long however. Norths’ found their way over in the 76th minute after being awarded a penalty of their own. Twenty metres out from the line they passed the ball to the left where the Panthers goal line defence was caught short and Cody Walker scored charged his way over score next to the corner flag. Nicholls missed the kick and Norths led 20-18.
On the stroke of full time Norths added to their lead. Darren Nicholls got a lucky bounce from a kick a metre out from the Panthers line and planted the ball down under the black dot. He converted his own try to give the Bears a 26-18 victory.
FULL-TIME BEARS 26-18