The Panthers have beaten the Wests Tigers away from home at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. After a disappointing run of results in recent weeks, the Panthers responded with a professional and hard fought victory on the road.
The game started at a lightning pace with both teams playing expansive attacking football, eager to put early points on the board. It wasn’t long until the Panthers started to roll through their sets and dominate field position.
Penrith was the first to score in the 9th minute. Isaac John kicked a spiralling bomb high in the air that saw Tigers fullback Kurtis Rowe drop the ball towards his own line and Maliko Filino pounced on the ball to score the opening four pointer. Isaac John kicked the goal and the Panthers led 6-0.
The Panthers were in to score again in the 11th minute. From a solid kick chase on the right, Penrith capitalised on a fortunate bounce, the ball went through a few sets of hands and Ben Murdoch-Masila had a short sprint to plant the ball down. John kicked the ball through the posts and the Panthers extended their lead to 12-0.
Penrith kept up the intensity and scored another try in the 18th minute. A cut-out pass to the left wing saw Malakai Watene-Zelezniak go for a run up the sideline, his flick pass on the inside to Kieran Moss saw the fullback sprint 30 metres to score. John’s conversion was successful and the Panthers were in front 18-0.
The Tigers caught the Panthers out with a try in the 31st minute. On the back of a couple of penalties, Wests moved the ball to the left and a short pass found Nathan Milone who stretched out to ground the ball in the in-goal. Josh Drinkwater missed the kick and the Panthers led 18-4.
Wests backed up the try with another in the 34th minute. A line break on the left-hand side caused an overlap 20 metres out from the Panthers line and Kurtis Rowe was there in support to collect a pass which handed him the try. Drinkwater’s kick went through the posts and the Panthers had an 18-10 lead.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 18-10
It was the Panthers who came out firing from the half-time break. Four minutes after the whistle they found space on the right, Ben Murdoch-Masila then offloaded to Brent Naden who set up Eddie Aiono to score in the corner. John missed the kick and the Panthers led 22-10.
The Panthers scored their second try of the half a couple of minutes later. Sam Scarlett caught the ball 10 metres out, went for the grubber kick which was deflected by the Tigers and the halfback pounced on the ball to touch down next to the posts. John’s kick was successful and the Panthers were in front 28-10.
Penrith extended their lead in the 58th minute with a try to Maliko Filino. A Sam Scarlett grubber kick into the in-goal came off a Tiger’s leg and a lucky bounce drove the ball into the hands of Filino who dived over the try line. John kicked the conversion and the Panthers had a 34-10 lead.
Wests scored their third try of the afternoon in the 67th minute. On the back of a penalty, the Tigers gained solid field position and Kurtis Rowe showed good speed to swerve past Penrith defenders to score in the corner. Drinkwater missed the kick and the Panthers were in front 34-14.
The Tigers grabbed a late consolation try in the 75th minute underneath the posts. The try was scored by Penoni Manumalealii. Drinkwater kicked the goal and the Panthers finished the game in front 34-20.
FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 34-20