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Panthers stumble against the Knights

The Panthers fell short of securing top spot in Pool 1 at the NRL Nines, after suffering a 16-4 loss to Newcastle Knights on Saturday.

Despite the result, the Panthers are well-placed to progress to the Quarter Finals following Friday’s resounding win over the Roosters.

With the Panthers in a comfortable position heading into their final group stage match, coach Ivan Cleary rested key players Viliame Kikau, Api Koroisau, Dean Whare and Moses Leota.

It was a positive start for the Panthers however, as a clever 40/20 by Nathan Cleary teed up the opening try.

Liam Martin barged over from close range to give the Panthers an early 4-0 lead, but it was quickly cancelled out.

Match Highlights: Panthers v Knights

Nathanael Sasagi put on the afterburners to touch down, getting Newcastle back on level terms at the break.

HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 4 – KNIGHTS 4

On the back of a few Panthers errors, the Knights pulled ahead early in the second half.

Jacob Saifiti sliced through a gap, and the conversion by Mason Lino put the Knights 10-4 ahead.

Stephen Crichton made an excellent one-on-one tackle to deny a runaway Starford To’a in the 14th minute, but held on a fraction too long and was sent to the sin bin.

The Knights immediately made the Panthers pay, as Tex Hoy strolled over to all but secure victory.

The Panthers nearly set up a grandstand finish when Matt Burton got on the outside of Newcastle’s defence and unleashed Dylan Edwards. However, the Knights scrambled to shut the play down and secure top spot in Pool A.

FULL-TIME: KNIGHTS 16 – PANTHERS 4