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Young Panthers punish Sharks

The Jersey Flegg Panthers bounced back from a last start defeat to beat the Sharks 38-18 at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It only took two minutes for the Panthers to score first, Harrison Hassett powering his way to the line through Sharks defenders. Conversion successful, 6-0.

A kick from Zack Lamont refused to sit up, and gave the Sharks a seven tackle set. They rolled along and on the fourth tackle, broken play through some offloading gave Taj Ford a bit of space and he capitalised, accelerating through a gap in the Panthers defence to score. Conversion successful, 6-6.

The Panthers hit back ten minutes later, a backline shift to the right edge went through the hands of Blake Moore, then to Samuel Lane who forced his way to the line with limited space, reaching out and slamming the ball down, hand outstretched over the defence. Conversion unsuccessful, 10-6.

In the following set, Blake Moore made a huge line break, running 40 metres before Nikora Williams chased him down. Interference in the ruck meant a penalty, and in a potential try scoring situation it meant Williams was sent to the bin, giving the Panthers ten minutes with an overlap.

Billy Scott made an error in the play the ball in their first chance against the 12-man Sharks letting them off the hook.

They didn’t make the same mistake in the next set, Blake Moore punching through the line and getting an offload to Edgar. Edgar was into the backfield before finding the last pass back to Moore, looping around to his outside shoulder. Moore went the final 20 to score in the left corner. Conversion successful, 16-6.

Moore continued to have the hot hand, putting a grubber kick into the in goal and forcing the dropout to keep the pressure on the Sharks.

In the next set they spread left on fourth, Moore drawing in Sharks defenders before popping a pass out the back to Edgar, who just had to execute the 2-on-1 to set up Angelis Hotere-Papalii in the corner. Conversion unsuccessful, 20-6.

The Panthers carried the momentum of the first half into the second, rolling downfield almost with ease. Lamont had a nice early touch putting a kick in behind the defence and forcing a dropout, the Sharks struggling to hold them out.

Moore and Hassett combined again on the left edge, Moore finding Hassett with a short pass and he did the rest, powering to the line dragging three defenders with him. Conversion successful, 26-6.

The Sharks had their first chance in 25 minutes, and capitalised instantly. Dylan Coutts poked his nose through the line before offloading to Taj Ford, who had his second try after bouncing off the final cover defenders and getting to the line. Conversion successful, 26-12.

Felix Faatili continued a strong performance with a try, as the 20 point lead was quickly cut to 8, leaving the Panthers slightly nervous with ten minutes to go. Conversion successful, 26-18.

A Billy Scott kick in the 65th minute sat up perfectly for Riley Wake and that was the nail in the coffin for the Panthers, snuffing out any hope of a Sharks comeback.

As the siren sounded, Jirah Liddiard picked up an intercept and went 50 metres to score and put the icing on the cake of a strong performance. Conversion successful, 38-18.

The Sharks couldn't execute late in the piece, coming up with untimely errors and penalties, allowing the Panthers to hold on and win their fourth game in the last five weeks.

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.