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Panthers defeated in NSW Cup thriller

An understrength Penrith Panthers side has suffered a shock 19-18 loss to Newcastle Knights at BlueBet Stadium.

Played in perfect conditions, the margin during the game was never greater than six points and scores were level three times, but it was the Knights who got the chocolates.

Fielding a severely understrength side due to players receiving first grade call-ups, the Panthers did well to hold on early as they gave Newcastle plenty of attacking chances off the back of errors and penalties.

There was an element of luck when the Knights finally did score in the 16th minute, as grubber ricocheted away from Isaiah Iongi and straight to David Armstrong who scored the first try. Lachie Miller added the extras, giving the Knights a 6-0 lead.

Another error shortly after put the Knights on the attack again, however this time the Panthers defence was strong enough to deny them at every turn.

The Knights thought they had their second in the 26th minute but were denied after Daeon Amituanai was tackled in the air attempting to catch a bomb.

The Panthers attack finally started to click into gear in the final ten minutes of the half as both Jack Cole and Trent Toelau put little kicks through that ended with teammates stopped just short of the tryline.

Amituanai opened the Panthers account in the 36th minute when he took a bomb and somehow managed to plant it acrobatically over the tryline despite the Knights defenders forcing his whole body over the sideline. Cole converted to bring the scores level at 6-all.

They took the lead in the shadows of half-time after John Faiumu crashed over next to the posts, with Cole converting to put them 12-6 ahead.

HALF-TIME: Panthers 12 - Knights 6

Brilliant cover defence by Iongi on a runaway Thomas Cant to save a try counted for little as the Knights scored on the next play, sneaking down the left-hand side for Liam Wilkinson to score in the corner. Miller converted from the sideline, bringing the score to 12-all.

It was a double blow for the Panthers as Kurt Falls left the field with his eye swelling after an earlier head knock.

A rampaging carry by Faiumu gave the Panthers the ascendency, with David Fale backing it up to beat four defenders on a 30m charge to the tryline for a try on debut. Cole again converted from out wide to put the Panthers back in front 18-12.

The lead didn’t last long as Oryn Keeley slipped through the defence to score in the 64th minute. Miller converted again to bring the scores level for the third time in the afternoon.

The Panthers lost another member of their spine with eight minutes remaining when Jack Cole landed awkwardly under a tackle and went off with a leg injury.

With both starting halves off the field, the Panthers were left to rue multiple decisions not to attempt a shot at field goal when Adam Clune put the Knights ahead with two and a half minutes remaining.

The Panthers got possession back from the short restart and came close to scoring a try through Eddie Blacker, before Toelau knocked on a poor pass from Luke Sommerton, denying them a chance to draw the game in the final minute.

FULL-TIME: Knights 19 - Panthers 18

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.