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Warriors rally to upset Panthers in dramatic fashion

It was far from convincing and at times perhaps even downright ugly, but the Warriors' courageous 22-20 victory over the Panthers on Sunday will go down as one of the club's most impressive triumphs. 

Already without a spate of frontline players due to injury, including star half Shaun Johnson, the Kiwi side lost influential hooker Wayde Egan to a failed HIA on 12 minutes and had to twice come from behind against the reigning premiers in Brisbane.

Facing the prospect of a heart-breaking fifth-straight defeat as they trailed by four with 10 to play, backup fullback Taine Tuaupiki scored and converted to give his side a two-point lead, before the against-all-odds victory was confirmed when Dylan Edwards pushed a late penalty goal wide. 

Taine Tuaupiki Try

The Warriors made the worst start possible by kicking out on the full and giving up a try to Edwards before they'd even touched the ball and it only got worse when Egan was ruled out a short time later. 

When they managed to score and even things up midway through the first half it had a negative attached to it, with Marcelo Montoya picking up a head knock as he crossed, although he was later cleared to return.

Dylan Edwards Try

With the Panthers up by six at the break, the sin-binning of Isaah Yeo three minutes into the second half for a professional foul was the first turning point and on the very next set Ali Leiataua crossed for his first try at NRL level, which Tuaupiki converted to tie scores again. 

Yeo sent to the sin bin

After a quiet first half Te Maire Martin was at it again a short time later, laying on his second assist in five minutes to put Adam Pompey over and give his side the lead for the first time. 

Once back to their full complement the Panthers seemed to find their mojo, with Yeo strolling through a yawning gap before Izack Tago made the Warriors pay for a glut of penalties and six again infringements.

But the Warriors weren't to be beaten on this day, with Tuaupiki's late six points giving the club their first win in six games. 

Match Snapshot 

  • It was the Warriors first win in six games at Suncorp Stadium and first win over the Panthers in their past nine attempts. 
  • Warriors hooker Wayde Egan didn't play beyond the 12th minute after failing a HIA. 
  • Panthers prop Matt Eisenhuth was put on report for a high tackle in the 52nd minute, while James Fisher-Harris was cited for a hip drop 10 minutes from full-time. 
  • Warriors interchange player Tom Ale was cited for a hip drop three minutes later, with Jackson Ford (dangerous tackle) and Bunty Afoa (dangerous tackle) following. 
  • Both Jackson Ford and Marcelo Montoya were sent for head injury assessments which they passed in the first half. 
  • Warriors winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak celebrated his 200th game. 

Play of the Game 

An impressive put down in which Marcelo Montoya put his body on the line for the cause. While there were more dramatic moments to come later, this gave the Warriors hope at a point in which it appeared to be fading midway through the first half. 

Marcelo Montoya Try

What They Said 

"The performance 100 per cent is the best part, but what happened during the week, the way the boys were, focused on what they wanted to do, that was the most pleasing part. So many leaders stood up this week and wanted to own what we wanted to and we saw the reflection of that today. We re-focused this week on what was most important for us and our leaders did that for us. We haven't said we have to change the world, we actually re-focused on what was most important for us this week and our leaders did that for us. We just had to re-focus on our standards and what we hold most important to us as a club and that came from the players." - Warriors coach Andrew Webster

Warriors: Round 11

"Felt like we made it hard on ourselves, and then just stupidity by me [ to get sin binned]. I'm supposed to be a leader and I made a bad judgment call early in that second when you already know we're not at our best, the sin bin and all of a sudden they score two tries so that made the day harder for us. That was poor leadership. Individually and collectively we weren't good enough today. That helps us I guess because it means you have to go and put accountability back on yourself and as an individual first, so that'll be a good thing for us." - Panthers co-captain Isaah Yeo

Panthers: Round 11

What's Next 

The Warriors head home to Auckland in Round 12 to host the Dolphins and will likely be without hooker Wayde Egan, while the Panthers are away to the Sharks at PointsBet Stadium.

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.