Penrith Panthers 34
Tries: Soni Luke, Tyrone May, Robert Jennings, Maliko Filimo, Jarome Luai, Fuimanu Enese
Goals: Dylan Edwards 5
Field Goals: nil
Manly Sea Eagles 18
Tries: Tom Trbojevic, Luke Garner, Liam Knight
Goals: Hugh Pratt 3
Field Goals: nil
Penrith Panthers claimed their second Holden Cup premiership in three years with a hard fought 34-18 victory over Manly Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium.
It was only the third time in the Cup’s eight year history that the minor premiers had gone onto win the title.
With temperatures in the low thirties, firm favourites Penrith struck first blood as Soni Luke strolled over from dummy half three minutes into the game. Tyrone May extended the lead after fourteen minutes to twelve nil after he threw a dummy that was fallen for by the Eagles defence. The signs looked ominous with the Panthers in full control of the game.
Manly started to get good field position and soon were on the scoreboard through superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic who steamed onto a pass with his run intimidating the Panthers defence.
A quick reply by Robert Jennings off the back of a scrum win thanks to Manly’s compact defence gave his side a ten point advantage heading into the final ten minutes of the first half. Jennings would leave the field during the second half with a leg injury.
Luke Garner’s break and eventual try was converted three minutes from half time to give the northern beaches club a glimour of hope to produce an upset as they went into the sheds behind 16-12.
Manly had a chance to draw level eight minutes after the break through Trbojevic but in the lead up a foot was placed on the touchline.
From this point forward Penrith asserted their authority on the game through some brilliance by Jarome Luai. He set up Maliko Filimo as the ball was spread to the left. With twenty minutes remaining Luai survived a video referee call as he used fancy footwork to mesmerized the Eagles defence.
Manly kept their chances alive when Liam Knight sliced through the Panthers defence with eight minutes to go to set up an interesting finish despite the Sea Eagles trailing by ten points.
Any hope was erased three minutes later when Fuimanu Enese crossed in the corner to confirm Penrith’s place in history.
Soni Luke winning the Jack Gibson Medal for best on field.