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Young Panthers dominate Dragons

An outstanding performance off the boot by Ryley Smith has led the Panthers to a 28-12 victory over St George Illawarra in round 14 of the Jersey Flegg Cup.

On a grey and drizzly afternoon at BlueBet Stadium, Smith controlled the game spectacularly off the boot, forcing several goal line drop outs, playing a key role in multiple tries and kicking 3/4 conversions.

The Panthers started strongly, forcing multiple errors in the opening ten minutes, while launching several attacking raids.

They opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Sam Lane followed through a grubber and kicked ahead, just getting to the ball before it went dead. Smith converted to make the score 6-0.

With the rain starting to fall, a perfect short ball from Liam Ison put Zac Lipowicz into space, racing 40m to score under the posts. Despite hitting the right-hand upright, Smith converted to push the score to 12-0.

The Panthers came close to scoring their third try when Cody Lawson kicked inside after making a break following a spectacular cut out pass by debutant Luke Hanson, however the ball bounced dead before Ison could get to it, leaving the score at 12-0 at half time.

After withstanding several sets defending their own line, the Panthers were first to score in the second half when a Hanson bomb was batted straight to Luron Patea in the 43rd minute.

They followed up with another shortly after when a grubber beat the Dragons around the goalposts and bounced up perfectly for Harrison Hassett.

After a couple of trick plays for the Panthers didn’t pay off, the Dragons got on the board, with Campbell Watchirs scoring on the left edge. The conversion by Ashton Ward reduced the Panthers lead to 22-6 with ten minutes remaining.

An error immediately after the try put the Panthers straight back on the attack, with Peter Taateo charging over the line a couple of tackles later. Ison added the extras, pushing the margin back to 22.

The Dragons added another consolation try down their left-hand side in the dying minutes, taking the final score to 28-12.

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.