Penrith Panthers have fallen just short of glory against Sydney Roosters in the final of the Auckland Nines, succumbing to a 10-8 defeat.
The Roosters would go close from the kick off as Joseph Manu looked to be crossing for the first points of the game but some typically strong defence from the Panthers forced an error.
They wouldn’t have to wait much longer, though, as Daniel Tupou streaked away down the right hand side to hand the Roosters an early 6-0 lead.
A Panthers error from the restart would give the Roosters prime field position to extend their lead. Connor Watson would take full advantage as he found Bernard Lewis out wide to touch down in the corner for a ten point advantage heading in to half-time.
The Panthers needed to score first in the second half to get back in to the contest and duly delivered courtesy of a penalty coming out of their own end.
Some quick hands opened up the space for Yeo to find Cartwright who drew in a defender before offloading to Malakai Watene-Zelezniak to score in the corner and reduce to deficit to six.
Nathan Cleary would split open the defence and run away to score at the death and cut the margin to just two but Darren Nicholls couldn’t sink the conversion attempt as the Panthers just short of victory.