The Penrith Panthers NSW cup side has cruised to a 28-4 trial match win over the Sydney Roosters at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers proved to be too good for the Roosters, giving coach Ben Harden plenty to smile about heading into the 2023 NSW Cup season.
A knock-on from the Rooters in the 7th minute saw the Panthers on the attack in the opposition’s territory. After two repeat sets on their line, a knock on from Preston Riki over the line saw the home team denied their first try of the day.
The Panthers gained back momentum, marching up the field in their next set of six. A set play on the last saw the ball shifted to the left, creating an overlap, sending winger Daeon Amituanai over in the corner.
Five-eighth Kurt Falls’ first conversion attempt from the sideline was unsuccessful leaving the score at 4-0.
A handful of errors from both teams saw each side struggle to string together a strong attacking set.
With eight minutes of the opening half remaining, the Roosters received a penalty granting the away team great field position however strong defence from the Panthers proved too good for the visitors.
The Roosters hit back right before half time, scoring off the back off a perfectly weighted grubber kick. The conversion was unsuccessful leaving the score at four-all heading into the break.
HALF TIME: PANTHERS 4 – ROOSTERS 4
The Panthers started strong in the second half, testing the away team with the ball in hand. Second rower Preston Riki broke through the defensive line late in the set, scoring next to the posts and putting Penrith back out in front.
Falls’ conversion was right on target, extending the lead to six points.
Penrith scored again off the back of the kick off with prop Liam Henry shrugging off defenders whilst charging towards the line, crossing for a four pointer. Falls’ conversion was successful taking the score to 16-4.
A try saving tackle from fullback Liam Ison as well as a strong defensive effort saw the Roosters turned away on their line twice within their set of six.
After set for set football from both teams, it was the Panthers who found momentum heading into the final 13 minutes of the match.
Interchange player Hayden Bonnano capitalised off the back of some off the cusp football, stepping past the Roosters right edge to score. Falls conversion from out wide was unsuccessful leaving the score at 22-4.
The Panthers continued to pile on the points, with centre Tom Jenkins crossing for his four pointer of the day. The home team shifted the ball out to the right before Jenkins stepped back onto the inside, fining space close to the posts.
The conversion from Falls was successful, extending the home teams lead to 24 points.
The Panthers stayed threatening in attack until full time, testing the Roosters up until the siren.
FULL TIME: PANTHERS 28 – ROOSTERS 4