Penrith Panthers NSW Cup v Wenty, Pepper Stadium, 19th March. Photo by Jeff Lambert (Penrith Panthers)

The NSW Cup Panthers fell 30-14 at the hands of a strong and reliable Wentworthville side at Pepper Stadium on Saturday.

The Panthers squad consistently worked hard to infiltrate Magpie territory but ultimately failed to crash through the tight and unforgiving line of Wentworthville defence.

Penrith looked set to score with a quick break in the opening minutes, but Josh Hall was unable to secure a Sam Clune bomb and Wentworthville snatched up possession. The Magpies responded immediately by driving play into the thick of Panthers territory. Wentworthville winger Honeti Tuha dove to cross at the end of a set just 10 minutes into play. A successful Mitch Cornish conversion put his side ahead 6 – 0.

The Panthers pack retaliated with a sequence of quick and unpredictable passing. Sam Clune fired a cut-out pass to Corey Harawira-Naera, who flicked the ball straight into the hands of Maliko Filino. Filino crashed over the line 21 minutes into the game, and Josh Hall’s unsuccessful conversion left Penrith trailing 6 – 4.  

Sitaleki Akauola was reliable in making ground for Penrith, consistently bursting through a tight Wenty defence. Magpie fullback Keiran Moss left the field with a potential neck injury.

Penrith continued work the Magpies line, eventually drawing their opponents to the right out of position. Sam Clune found Corey Harawira-Naera in the 31st minute, and the formidable second rower bolted through a gap to ground the ball neatly behind the posts. Josh Hall slotted a conversion putting his side up 6 – 10. 

The Magpies fought back hard in the form of Honeti Tuha, who snatched up an unexpected break to put his team 20m from the Panthers line. The 38th minute saw Wentworthville winger Bureta Faraimo steamroll over to score. Cornish successfully executed his second conversion, gifting the Magpies with a 2-point lead minutes before half time. 

HALFTIME Wenty 12-10

Wentworthville took advantage of a loose Panthers defence 46 minutes into play. The Magpies quickly drove the ball wide and Ryan Morgan crashed over the line to score. With the conversion waved away, Penrith trailed 10 – 16.

It took only 3 minutes for the determined Wenty side to repeat an attack out wide. Honeti Tuha rolled over to the far left, scoring his second try in the 49th minute. An unsuccessful conversion kick by Cody Nelson put the Magpies ahead 10 – 20.

A resilient Panthers squad worked hard to win consecutive sets but missed an opportunity to score with second rower Chris Smith losing the ball at the try line. Wentworthville wasted no time in quickly moving play down the other end of the field.

The strength of powerhouse Kelepi Tanginoa was too much for a tired Penrith side, and the forward barged his way over the line in the 66th minute. Wentworthville lead 10 – 24 after Cody Nelson’s conversion attempt was waved down. The Magpies momentum continued with James Hasson securing a bullet pass to bolt and crash over. A successful conversion put Wentworthville comfortably ahead 10 – 30.

Panthers fullback Maliko Filino seized the chance to run down the right side to score in the closing minutes. His efforts made the final score 14 – 30.

FULLTIME Wenty 30-14