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Panthers outclassed by Knights in Maitland

Penrith Panthers were outplayed by the Newcastle Knights in a 26-12 loss at Maitland Sports Ground on Sunday.

SG Ball Premiership winners Angelis Hotere-Papalii and Mason Teague scored the Panthers only two tries of the afternoon, with Newcastle dominating majority of the game.

Penrith were challenged in defence early, with repeat errors handing possession back to Newcastle. Knights halfback Liam Sutton made use of prime field position in the ninth minute, muscling his way through a crowd of Panthers to ground the ball on the line. Captain Thomas Cant made no mistake with the conversion, extending the home team’s lead to six.

The Panthers struggled to find structure in the spine in the first-half, with new combinations preventing the success of set attacking plays. Back-to-back mistakes helped Newcastle down the field, with prop forward Bradley Fearnley placed on report for a dangerous tackle.

An inspiring defence effort from Penrith half Kristian Li Mai prevented the Knights from scoring, as the five-eighth reached out to snag an intercept pass as Newcastle penetrated the Panthers defensive line.

But in the 30th minute, Newcastle would spread the ball to the right edge, creating an overlap to put Harry Croker through. Cant nailed the conversion from touch, helping his team to a 12-point advantage.


It didn’t take the Knights long to open their second-half account, scoring in the 40th minute after a Kurt Donoghoe grubber kick sat up perfectly in-goal for centre Ethan Ferguson. Cant’s conversion was perfectly weighted, taking the score to 18-0.

Cant continued his superb kicking form in the 46th minute, slotting a close-range penalty goal after Panthers interchange forward Daniel Sykes was placed on report for a high tackle.

Once again, the Knights wreaked havoc in attack, this time through crisp left-edge passing from Donoghoe and Cant which helped James Johnson into space. The Newcastle centre bumped off three Panthers before crossing the line, with Cant’s conversion helping the home side to a 26-point lead.

Panthers SG Ball premiership-winning captain Mason Teague scored Penrith’s first try of the game, after beautiful vision from captain Hohepa Puru recognised a space close to the line, putting the youngster through the gap. A quick conversion from Addison Williams reduced the deficit to 20.

Four minutes later, Panthers centre Angelis Hotere-Papalii added another four-points to the board, splitting the Knights line before diving over on the right wing. Williams added the extras but ultimately the effort wasn’t enough to steal the win from Newcastle.


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.