The ISP Panthers triumphed over Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 28-12 at H.E Laybutt Sports Field on Sunday.
A polished performance from the Panthers saw off the Sea Eagles, led by the instrumental Te Maire Martin who made a successful return from a neck injury.
Martin’s impact was immediately felt as he laid on the opening try of the game in the sixth minute. The halfback drew the defence in and looped a cut out pass for Lachlan Stein to stroll over untouched in the corner. Dylan Edwards landed the conversion from the sideline to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead.
The Panthers had their second midway through the half courtesy of the boot of Martin. His bomb was gathered in by Samisoni Langi who found Jack Hetherington back on the inside for the simple put down. Edwards kicked the conversion from in front to make it 12-0.
Blacktown Workers nearly struck back in the 25th minute when an Edwards pass was intercepted by Viliami Kaveinga, but a determined chase managed to reel in the runaway winger. However, they weren’t to be denied on the next play as Joey Lussick burrowed his way over from dummy half. Lussick missed the opportunity to convert his own try and the score remained 12-4.
The home side crossed over for their second try four minutes from the break when Peter Schuster was awarded a try despite going close to the sideline. The conversion was again waved away to remain 12-8.
A loose carry on halfway gifted the Panthers one last chance to attack and they capitalised through Christian Crichton. A sweeping move caught Schuster isolated in defence and Michael Oldfield put his winger over in the corner. Edwards failed to convert from touch as his side went in to the break leading 16-8.
HALF TIME: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 8 – 16 Penrith Panthers
The Panthers started the second half brightly and again made Blacktown Workers pay for their error. A restart was spilled and gave the visitors the ball close to the Sea Eagles line, capping off the set with a try to Langi. Edwards’s sideline conversion was waved away as the Panthers pushed out to a 20-8 lead.
The Panthers invited the home side back in to the game with an error of their own, turning possession over as they looked to score their fifth try. The Sea Eagles worked their way up field before finding an overlap for Jonathon Wright to cross over in the 48th minute. The resulting conversion was off target and the score remained 20-12.
The Sea Eagles continued to invite the away side on to them as the errors and penalty count rose and the Panthers obliged courtesy of Stein’s second try. A slick move to the left caught the home defence napping and Darren Nicholls found Stein in space to cross over. Nicholls couldn’t convert, keeping the score at 24-12.
The away side wrapped up the victory with five minutes to go as Oldfield reached out to score in the corner. The attempted conversion from Nicholls sailed wide as the Panthers ran out 28-12 winners.
FULL TIME: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 12 – 28 Penrith Panthers