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Panthers fight off late Bear attack to claim win

A second half surge from Peter Wallace’s NSW Cup side helped the Panthers to a 24-20 win over the North Sydney Bears at BlueBet Stadium on Friday.

Penrith’s left edge dominated the first-versus-third clash, with winger Daeon Amituanai bagging a double while centre Thomas Jenkins and fullback Sunia Turuva also claimed four-pointers.

Early try-scoring opportunities for the Bears were shut down by the referees, with a forward pass and an obstruction ruled against the visitors as they charged at their line.

North Sydney were awarded a penalty in the 20th minute, presenting them with a golden opportunity to score the first four-pointer of the game. Spreading the ball from right to left, centre Toa Mata’afa charged at the defence barrelling through four Panthers to ground the ball on the line. The conversion attempt waved away for Adam Keighran.

Granted a penalty within 25 metres of their line, the Bears elected to kick a penalty goal with Keighran slotting the two-points in the 30th minute.

Needing a response, Penrith made significant metres in the following set only to have Thomas Jenkins ruled held up in-goal on the fourth tackle. A stunning kick off the boot of Sean O’Sullivan on the fifth reset the Panthers in attack, allowing space for winger Daeon Amituanai to sprint through the Bears’ defence and score.

Kurt Falls’ conversion attempt from touch sailed through the uprights to level the scores.

Keighran kicked another penalty goal for the Bears, this time from the 30-metre line to send his team to the sheds with the lead.


Penrith were first to strike in the second half off another superb kick from O’Sullivan, which was received by Jenkins mid-air. A quick glance back from the centre identified Amituanai alone on the wing, tapping the ball on for him to claim a double.  

Falls made no mistake with the conversion, extending the Panthers’ lead to four.

Three minutes later a line break from Jenkins put Amituanai in the clear again, before the winger kicked in-field to connect with Sunia Turuva who lit up the field with his fancy footwork, eventually grounding the ball in-goal. Falls added the extras, putting Penrith 10-points clear of the visitors.

Jenkins intercepted a pass in the 57th minute, sprinting half the length of the field to score untouched. Falls made it four conversions from four attempts to make the difference 16.

An overlap on the right edge helped winger Kevin Naiqama score North Sydney’s first try of the second half, with Keighran taking the conversion quickly to restart play.

In quick succession Terrell May made it two second half tries for the Bears, with Keighran converting to bring the lead within four but the effort wasn’t enough to steal Penrith’s home victory.


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.