In front of a good crowd at Pepper Stadium the Panthers defeated the Illawarra Steelers 25 points to 10 to take out the SG Ball Grand Final for the first time since 2006.
The Steelers got the scoring underway after 5 minutes. Halfback Jackson Willis found winger Dylan Morris with a precise cross field kick. The conversion was unsuccessful, giving Illawarra a 4-0 lead.
It was a back and forth tussle for the majority of the first half with possession shared evenly. In the 25th minute Panthers captain Sean O’Sullivan found William Burns with a good short ball and Burns’ strong run to the line saw him level the scores. Sean O’Sullivan’s conversion put the Panthers in front 6-4.
Three minutes before the break Mose Feilo got a great offload away to Marlon Ritchie and the fullback found a gap in the defence to get the second four pointer for the Panthers just before the break. O’Sullivan converted the try to give the Panthers a 12-4 lead at half time.
HALF TIME – Panthers 12-4
The Panthers came out for the second half on the front foot and it wasn’t long before a nice backline play saw Jake Tago extend the lead with a nice try in the left hand corner of Pepper Stadium. A great conversion from O’Sullivan gave the Panthers an important 14-point lead with 24 minutes to go.
With 17 minutes remaining Moses Felio made a great 50 metre break and got a great ball to the inside run of Brian Too who crossed 10 metres in from touch. O’Sullivan’s strong game with the boot continued with a superb conversion giving the Panthers an unassailable 20 point lead. Panthers lead 24-4.
Both teams made a number of errors in the final period of the game however a nice kick to Dylan Morris saw the Steelers winger score his second try of the afternoon with 7 minutes remaining. A quick conversion from the Steelers brought the score to 24-10.
Despite a couple of late flurries from the Steelers the Panthers were able to close the game out. Sean O’Sullivan kicked a field goal in the 79th minute to seal the Panthers first SG Ball premiership since 2006.
FULL TIME - Panthers 25-10