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Iongi stars as Panthers prowl at Brookvale

The Penrith Panthers have extended their time atop The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup ladder, downing the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 26-20. 

Penrith continued their blistering form, scoring in the fifth minute through prop Jordan Grant. The try came after a penalty 10 metres out with Blacktown hooker Gordon Chan Kum Tong placed on report for a high tackle.

Blacktown responded swiftly however, thanks to a Josh Schuster pass which looped over a rushing Panthers defence, allowing Clayton Faulalo to put a diving Watson Heleta over in the corner. Brandon Wakeham converted for a 6-all scoreline. 

Faulalo’s rapid speed got him his second try assist in less than 10 minutes, burning through the Penrith defensive line before finding Brad Parker back on his inside. Wakeham converted from in front to extend the Sea Eagles’ lead to six.

 Penrith responded in the 24th minute when halfback Trent Toelau put Mavrik Geyer through a hole with a perfect short ball. Geyer returned to the NSW Cup after earning an NRL debut last week off the back of consistently strong performances. An unsuccessful conversion attempt from Paul Alamoti left the Panthers trailing 12-10. 

With eight minutes remaining in the first half, Panthers fullback Isaiah Iongi showed why he’s a player of the future by effortlessly outleaping Bailey Hodgson for a bomb before offloaing to centre David Fale who scored close to the sticks. 

Iongi came up with another crucial play two minutes later, fielding a kick on his own line, outmanoeuvring numerous Blacktown players and streaking 60 metres downfield before eventually being caught. The tackle led to the sin-binning of Blacktown prop Aitasi James for a professional foul. 

The penalty put the Panthers in great field position, allowing Trent Toelau to notch his second try assist of the match with Ativalu Lisati jumping on a perfectly placed grubber. A Blacktown penalty goal after the siren gave the Panthers a 22-14 lead going into halftime. 

Clayton Faulalo joined the try-scorers list 14 minutes into the second half after some slick leadup work from the Sea Eagles. Winger Raymond Tuaimalo Veaga made a linebreak from inside his own half, getting Blacktown invaluable field position. Brandon Wakeham hoisted a bomb two plays later which was tapped back by Jakob Arthur into the arms of Jamie Humphreys, who offloaded to Faulalo to score. Wakeham converted to reduce the deficit to two.

Some slick hands from the Panthers would put Paul Alamoti over untouched in the corner, to give the Panthers a converted-try lead with 13 minutes to go.

The Sea Eagles had one last chance before full-time to secure a draw, having two full sets on the Panthers’ line in the final minutes. However, the Panthers held on walking away from 4 Pines Park with the two points, extending their time at the top of the ladder.

Talking Points

  • Isaiah Iongi was one of many standouts for the Panthers having a try assist and a linebreak, proving dangerous with ball in hand.
  • Trent Toelau was also influential having two try assists and controlling the game with his kicking.
  • While not the home side’s day, Clayton Faulalo continued his impressive form from the 2023 season having two try assists and a try.
  • Gordon Chan Kum Tong faces a nervous wait to see if he’s charged for a high tackle in the fourth minute.

Key Moment

Isaiah Iongi’s final 10 minutes of the first half proved the difference, stealing momentum and the lead for his side when Blacktown looked to be on a roll. His effort and speed broke the Sea Eagles as he was influential in the Panthers’ two tries right before halftime.

What’s Next?

Penrith will enjoy the week off with a bye after a hard-earned victory, while the Sea Eagles travel to New Zealand in Round Six to take on the Warriors.


Match report courtesy of NSWRL. Written by Sam Kosack. 


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.