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NSW Cup Panthers continue unbeaten run

The Penrith Panthers have gone to the top of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup ladder after a convincing 22-6 win over Sydney Roosters at Wentworth Oval on Sunday.

The visitors set up the win with a dominant first half performance, scoring four tries to one for a 22-6 lead at the break before the Roosters went point-for-point with the Panthers in the second half.

The Panthers were without Mavrik Geyer (NRL debut), Riley Price (injured) and Preston Riki (suspended), but coach Ben Harden’s selection of Daine Laurie at fullback and Isaiah Iongi to the bench proved to be a masterstroke, with Laurie notching up a try assist and two linebreaks in the opening 40 minutes. The visitors also enjoyed the return of five-eighth Jack Cole from injury.

The Panthers started the game with a bang, scoring a slick backline try in the third minute through Cole before doubling their lead in the ninth minute, when skipper Tyrone Peachey ran onto a short ball from hooker Soni Luke to reach out and score from close range.

Roosters fullback Harry McKeon capitalised on a Panthers error from the ensuing kick-off when he fooled the Penrith defence a few plays later with a show and go close to the line to bridge the gap to six after 15 minutes.

Quick hands to the right enabled Laurie to put winger Jesse McLean over in the northwest corner in the 26th minute, to give the Panthers a handy 10-point lead despite Alamoti’s conversion attempt hitting the post from the sideline.

The weight of possession late in the half proved telling as the Panthers converted their time inside the Roosters’ 20 into points, when half Trent Toelau steamed onto a Soni Luke pass and reached out to score next to the posts to give Penrith a commanding 22-6 lead at the main break.

The Roosters capitalised on a long-range linebreak from back-rower Corey Ross just minutes into the second half, which put the home team on the attack inside Penrith’s 20. They were soon rewarded when a sweeping backline movement caught the Panthers’ short for numbers with McKeon again pivotal, providing the final pass for centre Ethan Clark-Wood to dive over in the 44th minute. Savala’s unsuccessful conversion left the hosts trailing 22-10.

 Poor discipline proved costly for the Roosters when back-to-back penalties enabled the Panthers to attack once more inside their 20, resulting in a barnstorming try to prop forward Luron Patea, giving Penrith the biggest lead of the game at 28-10 after 51 minutes.

A penalty in the 71st minute allowed Paul Alamoti to put the match beyond doubt, kicking a penalty goal from 20 metres out to give the Panthers a 30-10 lead.

The Roosters were rewarded for their persistence when a kick ricocheted off the Panthers’ defensive line back into the hand of interchange hooker Michael Coleman to score out wide.

Talking Points

  • Penrith five-eighth Jack Cole returned from injury in style, scoring an early try to put the Panthers on the path to victory.
  • The 30-14 win ensures the Panthers are the only side to have won all four games to start the season.
  • Roosters fullback Harry McKeon was a shining light, scoring a clever try in the first half before showing silky skills with ball in hand to put Ethan Clark-Wood over in the second half.
  • Roosters players Salesi Foketi and Suia Wong have a nervous wait from the Match Review Committee after both forwards were placed on report for first-half incidents.

Key Moment

Rookie Panthers prop Luron Patea, playing in his fourth NSW Cup game, recovered from a potential game-ending head knock to score his maiden NSW Cup try, with an incredible barnstorming effort early in the second half. The Roosters were threatening to mount a comeback having scored first in the second half to reduce the gap back to 22-10, before Patea’s try put the result beyond the home side’s reach.

What's Next?

The undefeated Panthers will be looking for five wins in succession on Saturday when they travel to 4 Pines Park to take on the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles, while on the same day the Roosters will be looking to return to the winner’s circle at Belmore Sports Ground to take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.


Match report courtesy of NSWRL. Written by Stewart Moses.


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.