The NSW Cup Panthers have kept their undefeated start to the season going with a hard-fought 18-6 victory over Newcastle Knights at BlueBet Stadium on Thursday.
In a frenetic opening 20 minutes, the Knights defended successive Panthers attacking raids on their line. They suffered a blow to their aspirations as five-eighth Dylan Lucas limped from the field with a leg injury.
Shortly after, in the 22nd minute, Panthers forward John Faiumu broke the deadlock as he proved too strong from close range and crashed over in the tackle. The attempted conversion from halfback Kurt Falls rebounded off the upright, leaving the home side ahead 4-0.
Six minutes before the break some slick offloads opened up space on the left edge and Panthers winger Robert Jennings broke through to score.
HALF-TIME – Panthers 8 – Knights 0
The Panthers opened the second half in style as a perfectly-weighted grubber from Falls sat up for Taylan May to score out wide. Falls couldn’t convert and the score remained 12-0.
Jennings took his leave to prepare for his stint as 18th man for the NRL side, bringing Tom Jenkins into the game. The young winger didn’t take long to make an impression as a floated cut-out pass from Jaeman Salmon put him over in the corner untouched. Falls nailed the sideline conversion and the Panthers were ahead 18-0.
The Knights opened their account in the 68th minute as Liam Wilkinson regathered a chip kick and strolled over. The conversion was on target and the home side held an 18-6 lead.
After repelling some desperate Knights attack, the Panthers sealed the result with a late Falls field goal.
FULL-TIME - Panthers 19 - Knights 6