The Panthers Jersey Flegg Cup team’s four game winning streak has come to an abrupt end, going down to the Wests Tigers 24-12 at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday.
After scoring three tries in the opening half, Wests Tigers added insult to injury in the final minute of the game with Livai Saukuru picking up a loose ball and running 50 metres to score, converting his own try after the siren.
In their second set of the game, the away side charged upfield thanks to a line break from fullback Jahream Bula. Utilising a three-on-one overlap Bula flicked a pass to centre Sione Vaihu who crossed the line untouched. Livai Saukuru converted the try to give the visitors a six-point lead.
Nifty footwork from Niwhai Puru opened up a gap in the line for Mason Teague to charge downfield. Later in the set, Puru put Zac Lipowicz through a hole, with the second-rower running around the back of the posts before grounding the ball. Addison Williams slotted the conversion from in-front to level the scores in the 11th minute.
In the 28th minute Wests Tigers hooker Michael Tannous broke the Panthers line, weaving through the scattered left-edge defence to score in the corner. Saukuru added the extras to put Wests Tigers back on the front foot.
With one minute left of the opening half, five-eighth James Valevatu snagged another four-points for Wests Tigers in similar fashion to Tannous’ try scored only six minutes earlier. Penrith’s left edge defence struggled to maintain formation, allowing Valevatu to zigzag through and score. Saukuru kicked the conversion after the siren to give the visitors a 12-point lead at the break.
HALF-TIME: WESTS TIGERS 18 – PANTHERS 6
Both sides failed to trouble the scorers to open the second half with the closest effort coming from Wests Tigers hooker Tannous. The diminutive number nine was held-up as the Panthers continued to repel the away teams attack.
In the 62nd minute Panthers centre Sam Lane crossed for Penrith’s second try of the match, barging through the defence to ground the ball on the line. Williams converted the try to reduce the deficit to six.
The Panthers had few chances to level the scores and a desperate last minute play came up short down the right edge as Saukuru scooped up a loose ball to run 50 metres to score on the siren. The powerful centre converted his own try to secure the victory.
FULL-TIME: WESTS TIGERS 24 - PANTHERS 12