The NSW Cup Panthers bounced back to form with a stunning 40-14 upset win over Western Suburbs Magpies at Lidcombe Oval on Saturday.
The flow-on effect of Origin selections saw Panthers coach Peter Wallace call upon the services of several Jersey Flegg and St Marys Ron Massey Cup players to field a side, one week after suffering a heavy defeat to Mounties.
Meanwhile the Magpies came into the game on a nine-match winning streak and boasting a settled halves pairing of Billy Walters and Jock Madden, supported by experienced NRL campaigners Joey Leilua and Michael Chee-Kam.
However the enthusiasm of the young Panthers from the kick-off saw them race out to an 18-0 lead and the Magpies never looked like reeling them in.
Match: Magpies v Panthers
Round 13 -
Venue: Lidcombe Oval, Sydney
The Panthers dominated early field position. Hooker Brendan Hands attacked the short-side and centre Sunia Turuva beat Leilua to open the scoring at Lidcombe Oval. Halfback Kurt Falls added the extras from out wide to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead
Centre Tom Jenkins made it back-to-back four pointers for the away side, winning the race to a grubber from five-eighth Niwhai Puru. Falls converted the try to give the Panthers a 12-0 lead after 19 minutes.
The Panthers were full of running midway through the half and Puru made sure the advantage was reflected on the scoreboard when scored his own four-pointer. Falls made it three from three to extend the lead to 18.
The Magpies stemmed the flow of points and soon got their first four-pointer of the day through the most experienced outside back on the field. Leilua tiptoed his way down the touchline powered his way through the attempted tackles of Turuva and fullback Brent Naden in the 29th minute. Madden’s sideline conversion was waved away.
HALF-TIME: Panthers 18 – Magpies 4
The Panthers started the second half in a similar manner to the first, scoring three successive tries in the opening twenty minutes.
Hands was the first to cross, taking advantage of a quick play-the-ball to cut through a non-existent defensive line and score Penrith’s fourth try of the afternoon. Falls converted to take the score to 24-4.
Hands’ try was quickly followed by four-pointers to Vito Tevaga and Luke Nadurutalo.
Tevaga powered his way through two defenders before Turuva put the flying Fijian winger Nadurutalo away down the right touchline. The flurry of points saw the Panthers hold a 34-4 lead with 22 minutes to play.
The Magpies clawed two tries back through winger Allan Fitzgibbon and forward Kelma Tuilagi but the deficit proved insurmountable.
Arthur Crichton sealed the win with a reward for effort when he chased through a delicate kick and pounced on a Magpies error in the in-goal to score.
FULL-TIME: Panthers 40 – Magpies 14.