Penrith Panthers' Jersey Flegg team sufered a narrow loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs 17-16 at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A first half field goal proved to be the difference despite a late comeback from the Panthers.
The Rabbitohs tested the Panthers early in the first half however a strong defensive effort from the home side saw the visitors struggle to score.
The Panthers hit back in the first opportunity in Souths territory with fullback Liam Ison finding space within the defensive line, stepping past his opposite number, scoring underneath the posts.
Five-eighth Ryley Smith kicked his first conversion of the day taking the score to 6-0.
The Rabbitohs were the next to score, marching up the field to be only 10 metres out from their try line. A set play from the away team saw the ball quickly shifted out to the left, with winger Carson Kaho diving over into the corner. The conversion from halfback Joseph Nohra was unsuccessful leaving the score at 6-4.
A set restart off the back of the kick off saw the Rabbitohs once again attacking close to their line, however a knock on gifted the ball to the Panthers.
Smart footwork from Smith saw the five eighth break through the line, racing 20 metres downfield to score the third try of the game.
Smith was unsuccessful at converting his own try, leaving the home teams lead to six points.
Off the back of a penalty, the Rabbitohs found themselves back in good attacking position, with lock Jaxson Rahme pushing through defenders to find the line. The conversion from Nohra was successful taking the score to 10 all.
A knock on from second rower Zac Lipowicz gifted the ball back to Souths placing Penrith back on the defence.
A field goal to the Rabbitohs just before halftime, saw the visitors take the lead heading into the break.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 10 – RABBIOTHS 11
A line break from Samuel Lane saw the centre sprint 30 metres down the field to place the Panthers within Rabbitohs territory.
While the Panthers looked sharp in attack the Rabbitohs defence proved once again to be too strong for the home side to break through.
A perfectly weighted kick saw the visitors kick a 40/20, sending them up the field.
A rushed defensive effort from Penrith saw space open on the right edge, with winger Deijion Leugaimafa capitalising off the open space, scoring in the corner.
The conversion was unsuccessful leaving the score at 10-15.
A great tackle from hooker Connor Mason saw Souths knock the ball on, preventing Rabbitohs from crossing for another try.
A penalty kick from Nohra saw the Rabbitohs extend their lead by an additional two points, making the score 17-10.
A handful of errors saw the home team struggle to find momentum in the second half, gifting the Rabbitohs with majority of the possession.
However, a set of off the cusp football saw the Panthers hit back with three minutes remaining. A kick downfield from the Panthers saw a downfield chase from both teams however it was Panthers winger Cody Lawson who won the foot race, scoring for the home side.
The conversion from Smith was successful leaving the Panthers trailing by one.
While Penrith fought hard to get the win, the Rabbitohs proved too good leaving BlueBet Stadium with the two points.
FULL TIME: PANTHERS 16 – RABBIOTHS 17