Penrith have delivered a dominant display for their fans in Monday night’s 38-18 victory over the Roosters at Pepper Stadium.
With the finals looming ever closer, Penrith needed to take two points out of the game to keep their realistic post-season hopes alive. But the way they took the two points will keep other teams watching their backs as the NRL enters its final few rounds.
Celebrating his 25th birthday, Panthers’ centre Tyrone Peachey had a field-day, grabbing two tries to help his team’s for and against record. Halfback Nathan Cleary was equally as impressive, with Bryce Cartwright also making some quality touches.
Cleary opened up the scoring for the Panthers in just the 3rd minute with a sleek show-and-go. It allowed him to spurt through the Roosters’ defence and stretch out over the try-line for a one-handed put down. He converted his own try to give the Panthers an early 6-0 lead.
The Roosters struck back in the 8th minute when Dale Copley burst through a hole on the left edge to score. Sio Siua Taukeiaho was on target with his first kick of the night, levelling the scores a 6-6.
Waqa Blake looked to have grabbed the Panthers’ 2nd try, only for a knock-on from James Fisher-Harris to be found just before Blake barged through.
Despite both sides looking dangerous at times, the first half was beginning to become scrappy with loose-carries and silly-errors starting to creep in.
That was until Tyrone Peachey shot through like a man-on-a-mission in the 23rd minute to score out wide. Cleary fine-tuned his kicking skills to convert and send the lead out to 12-6.
A fine intercept from DWZ propelled Penrith out of their own end and away from another set-of-six that had been awarded to the Roosters. But again, Panthers couldn’t take their opportunity and the ball was soon turned over.
They quickly made up for it though, with Chris Grevsmuhl bumping off Roosters’ hooker Jake Friend and busting over the try line. Cleary enjoyed the easy kick and it gave Penrith a 12-point lead after 35 minutes.
Blake Ferguson was looking more like a dancer when he ran 15 metres of the field backwards, before passing off to Dale Copley who almost scored a late try just before halftime.
Halftime: Panthers 18 Roosters 6
With the ability to jump up into 7th position if they could secure a comfortable win, Penrith came out from the sheds looking to get on with it.
Bryce Cartwright got them off to the perfect start in the 44th minute with a well-timed dummy that allowed him to slip through the Roosters’ line. Clearly couldn’t convert, leaving it at 22-6.
The party continued when Waqa Blake charged at the defence off a Bryce Cartwright offload, eventually borrowing his way down to the turf to secure another four points. Cleary made sure of it this time, making it 28-6 with half-an-hour left to play.
Penrith decided to up the excitement levels when they ran the ball on the 5th tackle, with Nathan Cleary ending up breaking through in the middle of the park. Cleary then kicked across field whilst on-the-run, positioning the ball into Tyrone Peachey’s arms. Birthday-boy Peachey went in untouched for his 2nd try of the night. Cleary couldn’t convert but it was all Penrith at 32-6.
Isaah Yeo found himself in dream land from dummy half, with a pocket of space opening up which allowed the backrower to run in under the posts with virtually no-one around him. Cleary was successful with his 5th conversion for the night sending it to 38-6.
The Roosters nabbed a try in the 70th minute when Daniel Tupou found his way over, and Boyd Cordner backed it up just minutes later when he barged over. After successful conversions and with five minutes left to play, the Roosters had pegged it back to 38-18.
Fulltime: Panthers 38 Roosters 18