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Panthers sunk by slick Sharks

The Panthers Harold Matthews Cup side were outclassed by Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in a 20-6 defeat at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday.

Sharks fullback and captain Chevy Stewart led the way for the visitors, scoring a try to go with his two conversions, and looking ever-dangerous with ball-in-hand.

The Panthers struggled to find their groove for most of the game and were forced into a reshuffle when winger Matari Donovan was carried off the field with an ankle injury in the first half.

The Sharks dominated play from the kick-off and were able to capitalise in the eighth minute.

Centre Jayze Tuigamala reeled in a well-placed kick to the corner to muscle his way over the line, carrying two Panthers on his back, and open the scoring.  

Tuigamala looked like doubling his tally in the 13th minute but the Panthers defence scambled to hold him up.

While the Panthers struggled to make an impression in attack, the Sharks had no such troubles as five-eighth Ashton Simmonds created space for Nicholas Pantelis in the 20th minute.

The Sharks winger dived over in the corner to to take the score to 8-0.


The Panthers started the second half on a better note as fullback Wilson De Courcey beat four defenders to escape a potential forced drop-out.

But just as Penrith seemed to gain some momentum, back-to-back errors allowed the Sharks to regain territorial ascendancy.

They took full advantage as Tuigamala received a flat ball and charged at the line, offloading to hooker Lochi McMartin-Catlett, who slipped through and scored.

The successful conversion from Stewart gave the Sharks a 14-0 lead.

A dangerous tackle on Panthers halfback Jett Cleary in the 44th minute gave the home side a rare attacking opportunity but it came undone with another simple knock on.

Fortunately they made the next chance count as hooker Billy Thompson made a break out of dummy half before finding Riley Pollard to score the try.

Cleary added the extras to reduce the deficit to eight with five minutes to go.

However when the Sharks shut down a Jaxen Edgar linebreak and forced him into touch, the result was out of reach for the Panthers.

Cronulla iced the game with a slick set play from close range, with Stewart taking an inside ball to cross untouched.

The captain converted his own try to seal the deal for the Sharks.


Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.