The NSW Cup Panthers have continued their winning ways after coming from behind to beat North Sydney Bears 26-16 at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday.
The Panthers opened the scoring in the 13th minute as an in-goal grubber evaded the grasp of Bears fullback Josh Bergamin and Robert Jennings pounced for a simple finish. Halfback Kurt Falls was unable to convert from the sideline and the score remained 4-0.
Five minutes later North Sydney hit back as five-eighth Jesse Marschke broke the line and found winger Tom Carr in open space, who in turn found centre Billy Smith to cross untouched. Halfback Ronald Volkman knocked the conversion over to give the Bears a 6-4 lead.
Winger Taylan May gave the Panthers the lead in the 30th minute after a clean draw-and-pass from backrower Arthur Crichton put him in the clear. Falls was off target with the attempted conversion but the home side led 8-6.
The Bears grabbed the advantage with three minutes left to play before the break. Brad Abbey snaffled an intercept from a loose Jaeman Salmon pass and ran 70 metres to dive over. Volkman kicked the simple conversion.
HALF-TIME: Panthers 8 – Bears 12
The Panthers struck first after the break as Sunia Turuva, who had replaced an injured Robert Jennings on the right wing, was put clear by fill-in centre Tyrone May. The sideline conversion from Falls hit the post and fell over to give the home side a 14-12 lead.
They extended that advantage in the 58th minute as Salmon broke through the Bears defence, drew the last man and put Panthers fullback Brent Naden over to score. Falls kicked the conversion and the Panthers led 20-12.
Three minutes later the roles were reversed as Naden, joining the attack on the left edge, found the perfect pass to send Salmon to the try-line. The conversion from Falls gave the Panthers a 26-12 lead.
North Sydney hit back as the Panthers failed to complete their first set after points. Winger Moala Graham-Taufa broke clear and offloaded for Bergamin to evade the last tackle and dive over. Volkman couldn’t convert from the sideline, leaving the score at 26-16.
There was a few nervous moments late in the contest as the Bears made some promising attacking raids on the Panthers line, but the home side's defence held firm.
FULL-TIME: Panthers 26 – Bears 16