The SG Ball Panthers maintained their undefeated start to the season with a 26-12 comeback win over South Sydney Rabbitohs at Redfern Oval on Saturday.
The Panthers trailed 12-4 at halftime after a scrappy first stanza saw them unable to capitalise on a glut of possession close to South Sydney’s line.
But an inspired performance from fullback Sunia Turuva in the second half, who proved a constant threat at the back, helped the Panthers to a comfortable 14-point win.
Penrith made a fast start to Saturday’s game as centre Jesse Buchan crashed over in the second minute.
Penrith dominated field position for the opening 15 minutes of the game, constantly keeping the South Sydney defence guessing with late offloads.
John Sagaga and Izack Tago in particular threatened with strong runs and second-phase play to keep the ball alive.
Despite all their dominance early execution was lacking, with Penrith lacking polish in attack close to the line.
They were made to pay by a Rabbitohs side who played with more conviction, with William Taliai crashing over for their opening try in the 19th minute.
A lack of urgency defending a kick then saw Mac Puafisi pounce and extend their lead to eight heading into the break.
HALF-TIME: Panthers 4 Rabbitohs 12
Edwards grateful for Panthers journey
Connor Mason forced a dropout early in the second half to heap pressure on South Sydney and this time Penrith capitalised.
Again it was a late offload from Tago, who had dragged four defenders with him towards the line, before offloading for Braith Alexander to surge over.
Alexander straightened up Penrith’s attack in the opening stages of the second with quick service from dummy-half before being taken off with concussion.
The Panthers continued to squander opportunities, dropping the ball on the first tackle after they had earned a full set 10 out from the Rabbitohs line.
But they made sure to rectify for their mistakes with two tries in the space of four minutes to take a 20-12 lead.
The first came of a sweeping play that ended with Ashley Cosgrove diving over in the corner.
Turuva then used his footwork to break through and find hooker Trent Borthwick trailing in support.
The speedy fullback then iced the victory late as he burst through the line once more, this time to put five-eighth Niwhai Puru over for the final try of the game.
FULL-TIME: Panthers 26 Rabbitohs 12