Slick Panthers extend unbeaten run
The SG Ball Panthers remain undefeated in 2018 after brushing off the Central Coast Roosters 48-8 at St Marys Leagues Stadium on Saturday.
The Panthers overcame a slow start to inflict a 40-point demolition on the Central Coast outfit, extending their winning streak to seven matches.
The Roosters opened the scoring in the 8th minute when centre Tallis Angianga scored at the end of a quick exchange of hands, however a missed conversion saw the score remain 4-0.
Central Coast had an opportunity to extend their lead in the 11th minute when fullback Lewis Sheens intercepted a wayward pass and broke into the backfield, but fumbled the football with the try line in his sights.
The Panthers looked to have opened their account in the 16th minute when Cini made a line break and offloaded to Matthew Faauila, but the centre couldn’t ground the football under the pressure of the Central Coast cover defence.
Faauila made amends in the 18th minute however, with a terrific offload inside his own half to Cini who tiptoed down the right wing and dashed 70 metres to score untouched. Centre Stephen Crichton kicked the conversion to edge the Panthers ahead by two.
The Panthers extended their lead just two minutes later, as winger Zhivargo Fai scored at the end of a slick backline movement. Crichton added the extras, taking the Panthers out to a 12-4 lead after 24 minutes.
An error by the Roosters inside their own 10 metres gifted the Panthers a prime scoring opportunity, and took advantage from the scrum as second rower Zac Duclos busted through a gap in the Central Coast defence to crash over. Crichton’s conversion waved away, with the score remaining 16-4 after 28 minutes.
After surviving a 33rd minute attacking raid by the Roosters, the Panthers marched upfield and were rewarded for their defensive efforts as halfback Hayden Bonnano sent fullback Charlie Staines over the line with an inside ball. Crichton failed to convert as the Panthers went into half-time with a 16-point lead.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 20-4 CENTRAL COAST ROOSTERS
Following an error-riddled opening to the second half, the Panthers scored their fifth try in the 47th minute when Bonnano bombed cross-field where Crichton rose above the pack to pluck the ball from the air and touch down. Five-eighth Matt Burton took over goal-kicking duties with success, taking the Panthers out to a 26-4 advantage.
The Panthers continued to dominate and widened the gap to 26 points in the 50th minute when Staines drifted wide and poked his nose through a hole in the Roosters goal line defence to score his second. Burton nailed the conversion from out wide to put the Panthers ahead 32-4.
Riding a wave of momentum, the Panthers crossed again in the 55th minute when Bonanno chipped over the Roosters defence and the football sat up perfectly for Cini to cross for a double. Burton’s conversion attempt waved away as the score remained 36-4.
The Roosters scored their second try in the 59th minute when a deflected grubber landed in the hands of an unmarked Sheens, who found Toby Elliott in support to send the halfback over. Elliott failed to convert, with the Panthers staying ahead by 28 points.
The Panthers punished the Roosters for an error on their own try line to rack up 40 points for the afternoon, with Fai scoring in the corner following a simple shift of hands down the left edge. Burton’s sideline conversion put the Panthers in front 42-8 with 5 minutes to play.
A terrific last-minute try capped off a brilliant performance by the Panthers, with hooker Maurice Trindall scooping up a Bonnano grubber and then winning the race for his own chip kick to slide over. Burton added the extras as the Panthers rounded off a 40-point win in style.
FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 48-8 CENTRAL COAST ROOSTERS