You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Dragons blow Panthers away with spirited second-half

An inspired second-half comeback in which they scored 22 unanswered points saw the Dragons overrun the Panthers 22-10 in torrid conditions at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday night. 

Down 10-0 at the break and having been forced to get through a mountain of defence – much of which came while they were camped on their own line – St George Illawarra set the tone with a clean line break to start the second half before going on to score four tries in the next 32 minutes. 

It was the Red V's first win in seven games against the Panthers, who suffered a defeat on home soil for the first time since August last year. 

Penrith had owned the opening 25 minutes in which they dominated the possession count, but couldn't find a breakthrough due in equal parts to a high error count and some staunch opposition defence. 

Eventually Paul Alamoti charged through from close range to register first points, before teenage winger Jesse McLean claimed an uncontested bomb and managed to stay in the field of play for a second 10 minutes later. 

Jesse McLean Try

After pinging his earlier attempt off the post, Alamoti converted from the sideline for a 10-0 lead at the break. 

Sione Finau busted through the heart of Penrith's defence on the opening carry of the second half and minutes later Toby Couchman got over to put the Dragons back in the contest.

Tyrell Sloan's strike and a second Kyle Flanagan conversion saw the visitors hit the lead before an end-to-end arm wrestle played out for the next 20 minutes. 

Tyrell Sloan Try

A tackle-busting run to the corner from Mathew Feagai then put the Red V a step closer to victory, but with the conversion that followed hitting the upright it remained a one-score game.

But an astute captain's challenge with eight to go not only saw the Dragons overturn a call which would have given Penrith the ball, it resulted in them being given a penalty when an offside player was found during the review, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner striking the killer blow a short time later with his first try of the season. 

Match Snapshot

  • The result marked the first time the Dragons have beaten the team that won the premiership the year prior since 2018, when they beat that season's defending champions Melbourne 34-14.
  • It was also the first time the Red V have won in their past 11 games without Ben Hunt, who missed the clash due to being in camp with Queensland. 
  • St George Illawarra made eight line breaks and forced 48 missed tackles from the Panthers. 

Raymond Faitala-Mariner Try

  • Penrith prop Moses Leota was restricted to 29 minutes due to a hamstring injury, while hooker Mitch Kenny left the field for a HIA in the 50th minute which he passed. 
  • Panthers back-rower Scott Sorensen went on report in the 23rd minute. 
  • It was just the second time the Panthers have lost in their past 15 games at BlueBet Stadium.

Play of the Game

Whatever coach Shane Flanagan said at half-time certainly had Sione Finau fired up. This determined carry to open the second stanza set the tone for the comeback, with plenty of Finau's teammates following his lead. Tries to Toby Couchman and Tyrell Sloan followed in the next eight minutes. 

Finau comes out firing

What They Said

"[The half-time talk] wasn't pretty... I was really disappointed with the we played in the first half, just turning the football over, it was awful. We needed the break, definitely needed half-time, I needed to get them in the room, and to their credit they responded really well." – Dragons coach Shane Flanagan. 

Dragons: Round 13

"I thought the intentions were right, but we just kept making errors or getting penalties and six-agains against us, always at the wrong time. We had a lot of inexperience tonight and there was a few lessons to be learned there. There were times when we just needed to settle and steady and we just couldn't do that the whole second half." – Panthers coach Ivan Cleary. 

Panthers: Round 13

What's Next 

The Dragons open the Round 14 action with a Friday night clash against the Wests Tigers in Wollongong, which will leave Ben Hunt, Jaydn Su'A and Zac Lomax with a 48-hour period between Origin and club games if they are to back up. The Panthers are home at BlueBet Stadium to face the Sea Eagles, with both clubs having a decision to make on state players backing up. 

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.