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Second half comeback not enough for the Panthers

The Panthers NSW Cup side suffered a hard-fought 29-16 defeat at the hands of Newtown Jets at HE Laybutt Field in Blacktown.

Both sides were littered with NRL experience with former Panther and representative winger Josh Mansour also lining up for Newtown Jets.

It was an unhappy opening forty for the Panthers, who spent the majority of play trapped in their own half and had Luke Garner (late tackle) and John Faiumu (crusher tackle) both placed on report.

Some desperate goal-line defence repelled Newtown’s attack on numerous occasions before the Jets finally opened the scoring courtesy of a four-pointer to five-eighth Daniel Atkinson in the 27th minute.

Fullback Mawene Hiroti stepped up to give the Jets a 6-0 lead.

Discipline and unforced errors plagued the away side and Atkinson ensured the Jets took a deserved double-digit lead into the sheds when he took advantage of some broken play on the halfway line. The fleetfooted number six got on the outside of the Panthers defence and outpaced fullback Isaiah Iongi to the try line.

HALF-TIME: Newtown 12 – Panthers 0

On the back of some much-needed field position the Panthers were quick to get on the scoreboard in the second half when a pin-point grubber by halfback Jack Cogger was put down by the Jets and quickly pounced on by prop forward Liam Henry.

However an acrobatic finish by winger Samuel Stonestreet soon after quickly restored the double-digit lead for the Jets. Hiroti’s touchline conversion took the score to 18-6 in the 52nd minute.

A quick fire double to Stonestreet saw the lead balloon out to 18 after he won the race to an early kick from Atkinson and stepped inside Iongi to score under the sticks. Hiroti made it 24-6 with 20 minutes to play.

Consecutive six again calls gave the Panthers a rare look at the Jets line midway through the second half. Some great hands through the middle third started by Mavrik Geyer gave Kurt Falls some space in front of  a broken defensive line. He stepped his way to a much needed four-pointer for the Panthers and converted from close range to reduce the deficit to 12.

The Panthers scored back-to-back tries soon after when Tom Jenkins stepped inside Newtown’s left-side defence. Falls couldn’t add the extras from out wide, meaning the score remained 24-16.

With the weather deteriorating by the minute the Jets extinguished the second half comeback in the 72nd minute when left centre Kayal Iro pounced on a perfectly placed grubber from Jayden Berrell.

Five-eighth Niwhai Puri kicked an inconsequential field goal with seconds remaining on the clock to give the Jets a 13-point victory.

FULL-TIME: Newtown 29 – Panthers 16

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.