The Panthers Jersey Flegg side showed determination to overcome a persistent New Zealand Warriors outfit 20-14 at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday.
After rushing out to a 12-0 lead, the Panthers found themselves 14-12 behind in the second half, but late tries to Alex Myles and Stephen Crichton got Penrith over the line.
Daine Laurie opened the scoring for the Panthers in the 15th minute when he took it to the line and showed impressive strength to cross the stripe.
Stephen Crichton dashed 85 metres for the Panthers next try, scooping up a Warriors kick and exploiting a gap on the left wing. His conversion made it 12-0 after 21 minutes.
However, the boot of Paul Turner inspired a fightback by the Warriors before halftime.
The five-eighth’s grubber set up Emanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard in the 27th minute, before he scored off his own deflected kick shortly before the break.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 12 – WARRIORS 10
The Warriors completed their comeback in the 47th minute, again from a kick by Paul Turner, whose cross-field bomb was plucked out of the air by winger Edward Kosi.
Their lead was short-lived however. Five minutes later, Brendan Hands’ inside ball unleashed Laurie, and the diminutive fullback found Myles on his inside, bumping the Panthers into a 16-14 lead.
Panthers winger Matthew Faauila saved a certain try with nine minutes remaining by reeling in a runaway Kosi.
The Panthers were rewarded for their desperation in defence, as Stephen Crichton latched onto Matt Burton’s cut-out pass to slice through with two minutes remaining.
The Warriors regained possession from the kick-off, but the Panthers defended their way through those nervy last few moments to seal the win.
FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 20 – WARRIORS 14