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Panthers suffer heart-breaking defeat to the Jets

The NSW Cup Panthers suffered a heartbreaking 20-16 defeat at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Staring down the barrel of seven consecutive losses, the Panthers had a rough start failing to complete their second set and giving the Jets a prime attacking chance just three minutes into the game.

A Jayden Berrell error let them off the hook on third tackle and they got to the halfway mark on their next set to get back into the early arm wrestle.

Trent Toelau had an immediate impact on his return to this team, a short kick over the top of the Jets defence found grass in the in goal and the Panthers kick chase forced a dropout.

First points came in the 11th minute, a Daniel Atkinson kick was put down by Isaiah Iongi with help from the pressure of Tom Rodwell, and Atkinson pounced on the loose ball to score. Conversion successful, 0-6.

The Panthers attack was struggling to execute, they had five tackles on the Jets line after a penalty and came up empty handed, before Iongi forced a dropout with a grubber kick on the last. The Jets went short and a Panthers knock on let them off the hook yet again.

The Jets got inside the Panthers 20 and stripped them short on their right edge. Liam Ison tipped onto Mawene Hiroti and he fended his man to get into the clear before bouncing off two more defenders to score. Conversion successful, 0-12.

A Nick Murphy line break from inside the Panthers half gave them a chance to put points on in the first half, however Peachey could only force a dropout which was regathered by the Jets.

The Panthers opened the scoring in the second half, Austin Dias with a powerful run before offloading for Luke Sommerton who dived over the line to score their first. Conversion successful, 6-12.

A penalty from in front allowed the Jets to cushion their lead with a penalty goal, which was successful extending Newtown's lead to eight..

The Panthers attack finally got into a rhythm, Asu Kepaoa bouncing off tackles before throwing an offload, deflected by the Jets and scooped up by Mavrik Geyer who went the rest of the way to score. Conversion successful, 12-14.

The very next set they made it three tries in 11 minutes, a shift to the left went through the hands of Iongi, Kepaoa and then to Amituanai who beat a handful of defenders before reaching out to score and give the Panthers their first lead of the game. Conversion unsuccessful, 16-14.

The two teams swapped roles throughout the second half, the Jets struggling to convert when they had chances and the Panthers being near perfect in the opposition redzone.

The Jets finally got it right with just four minutes left on the clock, Chris Vea’ila digging into the line before getting a freakish offload away to Samuel Stonestreet. He dove into the corner and finished a freakish acrobatic try to put the Jets back into the lead and secure the Wilson-Blacklock trophy and a 20-16 victory for Newtown.

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.