Penrith Panthers have suffered defeat in the Jersey Flegg Cup, going down 28-18 to the Canberra Raiders in the nation’s capital.
With a host of regular Jersey Flegg players called up into the NSW Cup team, the new-look under-21s side fought hard in cold conditions, and despite a second-half comeback, the Panthers fell short in the end.
The Raiders were first to trouble the scorers when Harrison Leadbitter crossed in the seventh minute before Sione Vuki landed the extra two points.
The Panthers, however, hit back 12 minutes later when centre Angelis Hotere-Papalii bagged a try and Addison Williams was successful with the conversion.
The Raiders took a 10-6 lead into the break following a try to halfback and captain Thomas Casey, however the conversion was waved away.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 6 – RAIDERS 10
Two quick tries to the Raiders immediately after the break had the home side in a commanding position.
First it was winger Jed Stuart who crossed in the 38th minute, followed by a four-pointer to backrower Tane Kiriona five minutes later to give the Raiders a 22-6 advantage.
The Panthers weren’t done with yet as they scored back-to-back tries in the space of a couple of minutes.
Panthers backrower Zac Lipowicz crossed in the 49th minute and Williams had no dramas with adding the extras to close the gap to 10 points.
On the ensuing set, Penrith fullback William Fakatoumafi bagged a try and Williams kicked the conversion to set up a grandstand finish.
However, just as the Panthers were on the verge of a thrilling comeback, the Raiders scored through Sione Moala to seal the result for the home side.
FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 18 – RAIDERS 28