With a strong Christchurch breeze at their back in the second half, the Panthers powered their way to a 30-18 win over the Warriors at AMI Stadium.
Tyrone Peachey scored three tries to help the Panthers overcome a four-point deficit at halftime.
Panthers coach Anthony Griffin sprung some late changes with Waqa Blake dropping back into the Intrust Super Premiership NSW side. Isaah Yeo was named at centre, Tyrone Peachey at hooker and James Fisher-Harris promoted into the starting side. However when the Panthers took the field, Peta Hiku lined up at right centre, with Peachey on the left, and Peter Wallace at hooker.
Hear from Anthony Griffin and Matt Moylan after the game: http://bit.ly/PressConfR10
Watch the match highlights: http://bit.ly/NRLHighlightsRd10
It was the Warriors who opened the scoring in the 5th minute as Solomone Kata stepped and jinked his way through some lacklustre Panthers defence. Shaun Johnson was on target with the conversion attempt for a 6-0 lead.
The Panthers hit back in surprising fashion five minutes later. Attempting to run the ball off his own line, Johnson was caught upright and lost possession while being driven back into the in-goal. Jamie Soward was the man on the spot to dive on the loose ball and score. His successful conversion locked the game up at 6-6.
The Warriors were caught offside as the Panthers went on attack from their next set and Soward knocked the penalty over to make it 8-6.
With a strong breeze behind the Warriors, Johnson misjudged the power of his boot and sent the restart out on the full. The Panthers marched downfield and on the final play, Matt Moylan confused the defence and opened up a yawning gap for Peachey to cut back and score. Soward nailed the conversion and the Panthers led 14-6 after 21 minutes.
A touch of luck and back-to-back penalties gifted the Warriors golden attacking possession and winger Jonathan Wright bumped off Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to score in the corner in the 25th minute. Johnson judged the breeze perfectly with a successful sideline conversion, making the score 14-12.
Some Johnson deception on the final play set up another Warriors try with ten minutes until the break. With the defence scrambling, Blake Ayshford found just enough space to step inside an attempted tackle and dive over. Johnson sent the conversion over for a 18-14 lead.
Three minutes before halftime it looked like Suaia Matagi had reached out to score but the Panther was immediately penalised for a double movement.
HALFTIME – Warriors 18-14
The opening to the second half was a scrappy affair, with both sides guilty of dropping ball on the attack. The Panthers had their chances but the Warriors muscled up in defence to twice drag wide men into touch.
Soward looked to have found a decisive gap in the 59th minute but his offload was fumbled by Wallace with the tryline at his mercy.
With 20 minutes to play the Panthers finally found the space they needed. With Moylan joining the attack, once again Peachey ran the killer line back on the inside to score. Soward was successful with the conversion attempt for the Panthers to hit the lead 20-18.
In the 73rd minute the Panthers probed and prodded the Warriors defensive line and eventually found a gap for Watene-Zelezniak to dive over in the corner. Soward’s conversion sailed just wide but Penrith led 24-18.
There were some nervous moments but a crucial Watene-Zelezniak intercept saved the Panthers from conceding another heartbreaker. As play quickly shifted down field, some smart work out wide put Peachey over for his third try. Soward nailed the conversion to make the score 30-18.
FULLTIME – Panthers 30-18