Penrith Panthers 48
Tries: Kieran Moss 3, Luke Capewell, Isaah Yeo, Eto Nabuli, Waqa Blake, Ryan Simpkins
Goals: Wes Naiqama 7, Kevin Kingston
Field Goals: nil
Newcastle Knights 12
Tries: Matt Minto, Pat Vaivai
Goals: Josh Mantellato 2
Field Goals: nil
Penrith Panthers are the 2014 VB NSW Cup champions following their 48-12 demolition of Newcastle Knights at Allianz Stadium.
It was the perfect gift for retiring captain Kevin Kingston after ten years in the National Rugby League where he played with Cronulla, Parramatta and Penrith. In becoming champions the Panthers recorded twenty-three wins from twenty-five matches and now face Queensland Cup winners Northern Pride in the State Championship Grand Final.
Penrith led 24-6 at the break with some enterprising play and a little bit of luck. What might have broken the Knights was the first of Kieran Moss’ hat-trick after twenty four minutes of play. Earlier in the play Ryan Simpkins threw a forward pass missed by the officials. This frustrated Newcastle at a time when they trailed 12-6 leading up to the try.
Newcastle appeared to lift as the game got heated. Chanel Mata’utia was on report for the Knights after leading with his head into an opponent. Moments earlier Tom Humble was on report for making dangerous contact in a tackle.
A cruel blow struck the Knights on half time with Fijian flyer Eto Nabuli crossing as the Panthers held a comfortable eighteen point lead at the break. Isaah Yeo didn’t return in the second half after a lower leg injury in the first half. He was making a good impact on the left hand side for the Panthers.
Both sides went close to scoring with Pat Mata’utia for the Knights and Wes Naiqama for the Panthers denied by the video officials.
Waqa Blake went over fifteen minutes into the second half and that appeared to be the knockout blow for the Novacastrians. On the hour the Knights had a sniff when Pat Vaivai was too strong in getting over the line. But in the end Penrith proved too strong with three tries in the final eleven minutes of play, Moss finishing his hat-trick after slick moves down the left side from long range on both occasions. His hat-trick earning him the coveted Man of the Match honours. Ryan Simpkins crossed for Penrith’s eighth try of the afternoon with four to play and it was Kingston given the honours to land the final conversion.
Kingston will be joined by Newcastle’s Matt Hilder as a retiree at the end of the season. Newcastle’s Josh Mantellato and Penrith’s Wes Naiqama head to Super League, while Kevin Naiqama will move to Wests Tigers after not winning a regular National Rugby League position with the Panthers.
Northern Pride won the Queensland Cup after thrashing Easts Tigers 36-4 in the Grand Final at Suncorp Stadium. The Pride are North Queensland Cowboy’s feeder club. Check out the official Queensland Cup Match Report here.
Penrith Panthers and the Northern Pride will play the NRL State Championship Grand Final at Stadium Australia on Sunday with kick-off at 3:55pm.