The Penrith Panthers NYC side has extended its winning streak to seven matches, beating the New Zealand Warriors 36-28 at Pepper Stadium on Saturday.
For the first time in a number of weeks, the Panthers were pushed to their limits and pleasingly managed to win through adversity.
Coach Cameron Ciraldo welcomed back Brent Naden, who began the season as his captain before earning promotion to NSW Cup two months ago. Naden slipped into the centres with Jack Nelson the man to make way, while Sam Elwin dropped off the bench for Dylan Fuad.
The Panthers began the afternoon scoring in the 8th minute. Jarome Luai was able to put a deft grubber in the in-goal which bounced up favourably for Christian Crichton to score. Nathan Cleary was unable to convert and score remained 4-0.
A handling error from the kick off allowed the Warriors to hit back through Paul Ulberg scoring in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful to keep scores at 4-4.
The Warriors struck again in the 16th minute as Junior Pauga sliced through the Panthers edge defence to score in the corner. The conversion was successful to take the Warriors to a 10-6 lead.
The Warriors bruising defence was beginning to take its toll on the Panthers and the Warriors went in to score in the 24th minute through Matiu Love-Henry. The try was converted to make the score 16-4.
Penrith hit back in 30th minute from a slick short-side play which saw Jake Ennis bag a try. Cleary converted to reduce the Warriors’ lead to six points.
Two minutes out from half time the Panthers put the scores back on level terms after Jarome Luai showed great athleticism to evade three players in broken play to score near the posts. Cleary’s conversion levelled the scores.
HALF TIME: 16-16
The Panthers came back from half time half asleep and the Warriors capitalised through centre Semisi Tyrell, who was able to beat Penrith’s right edge to run 40m and score in the 42nd minute. Mikaere Beattie converted the try to take the Warriors to a 22-16 lead.
After absorbing a mountain of defensive work, the Panthers clawed back to even terms through Corey Waddell who ran a smart hole and proved too strong close to the line.
The Panthers regained the lead in the 56th minute for the first time since opening the scoring. Reed Izzard barged over the line off the back of a subtle short ball from Tyrone May. Cleary converted to extend Penrith’s lead to 28-22.
Dylan Edwards showed once again his attacking class, this time beating three defenders to cross in the corner in the 65th minute. Cleary missed the conversion to keep scores at 32-22.
After failing to complete their set from the kick-off, the Warriors fought back as hooker Erin Clark burrowed over the line in the 67th minute. The conversion was successful as Penrith maintained a 32-28 lead.
With the Warriors in a commanding attacking position on the line, a poor grubber took a deflection off Brent Naden who was able to regather and run 92m to score. For the second time in as many attempts, Cleary’s conversion rebounded off the upright.
FULL TIME: Panthers 36-28