Penrith Panthers have suffered their first defeat of the 2022 NSW Cup season with a 20-18 loss to South Sydney Rabbitohs at BlueBet Stadium.
After winning the first three games of the new campaign, the Panthers couldn’t continue their triumphant streak as the Rabbitohs scored four tries to three.
The away side hit the front with the first try of the evening when Izack Thompson found himself in the backfield before linking with five-eighth Jack Jack Campagnolo in support for a 6-0 lead after 13 minutes.
Soon after it was Peter Mamouzelos who extended the Rabbitohs’ lead as he took the line on from close range. Dean Hawkins made no mistake with the conversion, extending the score to 10-0.
It was the away side who had the better of the field position in the opening half, however the Panthers pounced on an opportunity just shy of the break.
Preston Riki powered his way over on the right edge before a successful conversion from Kurt Falls reduced the deficit to four points.
HALF-TIME: RABBITOHS 10 – PANTHERS 6
The Rabbitohs added to their tally soon after the break when right winger Josh Mansour pounced on a kick to score in the corner against his former side.
Their lead stretched to 20-6 moments later when Jacob Gagai finished off a long-range effort from the away side.
When Panthers forward John Faiumu crashed over with seven minutes remaining, it gave the home side life and they went up a gear.
It was a grandstand finish at BlueBet Stadium when Penrith forward Eddie Blacker crashed over to reduce the deficit to just two points, but time ran out for the Panthers.
FULL-TIME: RABBITOHS 20 – PANTHERS 18