Panthers suffer humbling defeat at Redfern

The Harold Matthews Panthers learned some valuable lessons as they suffered a 30-18 defeat to the Rabbitohs at Redfern Oval on Saturday.

With their first two wins at a sunny Panthers Stadium a distant memory, Penrith were greeted by a barrage of rain and wind in the heartland of the red and green.

Despite a determined effort in defence, poor ball security in their own end cost the Panthers a shot at victory.

Penrith opted for an early penalty goal with five-eighth Jake Hay splitting the posts to open the scoring in the 15th minute.

A strong carry from front rower Lafaele Tauapai drew a penalty not long after the restart, marching the Panthers upfield.

And they quickly capitalised with Hay at it again, this time stepping through a number of defenders before sliding over next to the posts. He converted his own try to extend the lead to eight.

The Panthers weren’t as well prepared for the wind, which wreaked havoc as the ball floated back to South Sydney off the restart.

After a couple of gallant sets defending their line, Penrith eventually cracked as Davvy Moale charged over off a crash ball for the Rabbitohs.

It was a similar story a couple of minutes later as the Panthers coughed up possession on their own line before later conceding a penalty. The pressure proved too much as Hennessy Ofria-Hunt powered over off the tap to hand Souths the lead.

In what was a seesawing affair early, the Rabbitohs came up with an error of their own as they brought the ball up towards halfway before giving up back-to-back penalties to invite Penrith back into the contest.

And Hay sent another penalty goal to lock things up before halftime.

HALF-TIME: Panthers 10 Rabbitohs 10

Another early penalty gifted the Panthers the chance to hit the front, and they did through the boot of Hay.

After weathering a couple of raids on their own line, Penrith earned another penalty but were unable to find touch, handing possession back to the Rabbitohs. And they were made to pay for their ill-discipline, with Luca Ace-Nasteski slicing over in the right edge as Souths regained the lead.

As the Rabbitohs threatened to push further ahead, winger Jimmy Donnelly looked to have defused a dangerous situation when he caught an Emmanuel Di Bartolo kick before forcing his way into the field of play. But he was ruled to have been tackled in-goal and with the ball back in hand, Souths scored once more as Joseph Nohra danced his way over.

Rabbitohs rake Ratu Vesikula then fooled the flustered Panthers, who had to quickly revert to defence after a mistake on their own line, extending their lead to 14.

Souths looked certain to go over again in the right corner but Kai Hillen pounced and intercepted the ball, sprinting away before being tackled 20 out from the South Sydney line.

Penrith then shifted the ball right as Jesse Buchan scored out wide to reduce the deficit to eight.

The Rabbitohs sealed the victory in the 56th minute when Moale charged over under the posts.

FULL-TIME: Panthers 18 Rabbitohs 30