The Panthers Intrust Super Premiership NSW side have gone down 30-12 to competition leaders Mounties at Carrington Park in Bathurst.
Despite fighting back to score 18 points in the second half after trailing by just as many at the break, the Panthers couldn’t match it with Mounties who pressed on to keep their place at the top of the ISP NSW ladder.
Penrith dominated the opening minutes of the game; with Mounties sending the ball dead from the kick off before giving up a pair of penalties close to their tryline.
While they were able to force two line-dropouts, the Panthers couldn’t break Mounties’ defence and missed an opportunity to take an early lead.
Both teams went about their business for the first twenty-minutes, but neither side could make any impact on the scoreboard. Penrith weren’t helped when George Jennings left the field in the 17th minute, while Mounties lost Adam Clydsdale just moments after.
The deadlock was broken when Jarrard Kennedy crossed for Mounties in the 22nd minute, following a break from back-rower Mitch Barnett. Mounties halfback Maurice Kennedy converted to put the Intrust Super Premiership competition leaders 6-0 up.
Josh Hall saved what looked to be a certain Mounties try when he batted the ball out from the in-goal to stop a flying Brenko Lee from scoring. But Hall’s work proved to be of little value when Mounties winger Eddie Aiono strolled over for a try in the corner during the repeat set. With a successful conversion, Mounties extended their lead to 12-0 after 31 minutes.
A simple error from Penrith coming out of their own 20 metres just before halftime proved to be costly when Mounties captain Glen Buttriss worked his way through the defensive line for a try. With the siren for halftime already gone, Kennedy put the conversion between the sticks to give Mounties an 18-0 lead.
Halftime: Panthers 0 Mounties 18
A low-pressure system loomed over Carrington Park as the sides returned for the second half, but it was a high-pressure approach that had Penrith on the front foot from the get-go.
Panthers’ winger Josh Hall showed off his former AFL talents by taking an incredible leaping-catch from a Mounties cross-field kick in the 4th minute, allowing him to bolt downfield to finally put the hosts on the board.
Shortly after, Penrith’s good start was countered by Mounties with Jarrad Kennedy grabbing his second-try of the day. The four-pointer was converted giving Mounties a 24-6 lead after 51 minutes.
Kennedy was in the thick of it again just minutes later when he delivered a flick pass to Kato Ottio who was able to put the ball down in the corner for another try. Kennedy’s brother, Maurice, was off target with the boot and the score remained 28-6.
Frustration was beginning to set-in for the Panthers, and a cheap penalty in front of the post allowed Mounties to take a penalty goal and extended their lead to 30-6.
Corey Harawira-Naera pegged one back for the Panthers in the 60th minute when he took an intercept right out of Mounties’ hands to race 70 metres downfield. The conversion brought the score back to 30-12 with less than 20 minutes to play.
Both sides began to turn over the ball with a number of errors making it difficult for either side to create any further traction for the last quarter of the game.
Eventually, Penrith made something from nothing as Malakai Watene-Zelezniak pounced on a loose ball in the 76th minute and ran in for a consolation try. The conversion made the score 30-12 with three minutes left to play.
The end to the game was rather subdued with Mounties replacement Scott Sonserson leaving the field following an injury that kept him down on the ground for a number of minutes.
Fulltime: Panthers 18 Mounties 30