New Zealand Warriors have ended the Penrith Panthers five game winning streak as they posted a 30-20 victory at Mt Smart Stadium.
It was a double blow for the Panthers with a right ankle injury to Jamie Soward resulting from being tackled a couple of minutes just before the break. Soward stayed on for the final moments of the half until an assessment was made at half-time that ruled out the five eighth for the remainder of the game.
Penrith weren’t out of the game despite being twelve nil down after fourteen minutes of play. Konrad Hurrell scored the opening try two minutes into the game after Josh Mansour was penalised at the play the ball in the lead-up. Manu Vatuvei then was on the end of a play that saw Sam Tomkins involved where Penrith were caught out on the overlap.
Despite the weight of possession fav0uring and a four-one penalty count to New Zealand Warriors, the signs were there that Penrith were still in the game. Finally Penrith got over the line after twenty-seven minutes when Soward scored in a move that saw Tyrone Peachey break tackles and in doing so providing the try assist with a neat offload.
Three minutes later and Josh Mansour took his season tally to eleven when good hands from Soward saw the ball in Jamal Idris’ hands for a quick fire pass to the winger. Soward’s conversion locked up scores. Moments before half-time Matt Moylan put the Panthers ahead as he positioned himself well to chase through Peter Wallace’s kick. The missed conversion by Moylan meant the Panthers led 16-12 going into the sheds.
Just like the first half, the home side came out and dominated the Panthers early. Chad Townsend’s pass ball to Simon Mannering put the veteran over seven minutes after the break.
But it was an error of judgement with eighteen minutes of play that gave the Warriors a huge advantage in the game. Moylan in attempting to get out of his in goal decided to throw a dangerous pass in the direction of Mansour. However the ball went directly backwards and Konrad Hurrell after the video replay was awarded the try. It was inconclusive whether Hurrell touched the ball as Moylan threw the ball back.
The final fifteen minutes were going to be a test of Penrith’s character as to whether they would continue to play the game for victory. A sensational try to James Segeyaro put the Panthers four behind with Idris offloading to Moylan who broke through two Warriors players to find the hooker flying onto the ball which ended up in a score.
With eight to play it was Segeyaro’s pass on half-way that was plucked out of the air by Shaun Johnson that confirmed the Warriors would end Penrith’s great run.
A questionable sin bin saw Peter Wallace given a fifteen second early mark. It was a game where Penrith were caned 10-6 in the penalty count. Something Ivan Cleary will be looking for improvement in his players before they take on the Tigers next weekend.
Despite going down in defeat the Panthers showed plenty of commitment and in general their possession rate was high, especially in the first half. The New Zealand Warriors were too good and go into the bye break with an important victory that counts for four points.
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS 30 (Konrad Hurrell 2, Manu Vatuvei, Simon Mannering, Shaun Johnson tries; Shaun Johnson 5 goals) defeated PENRITH PANTHERS 20 (Jamie Soward, Josh Mansour, Matt Moylan, James Segeyaro tries; Jamie Soward 2 goals)