The Penrith Panthers closed out the home and away season with a convincing 36 – 6 victory over the injury ravaged Sea Eagles on Sunday night at Penrith. The win secured 6th spot on the competition ladder for the Panthers whilst ended a difficult first year at the helm for Manly coach Trent Barrett.
PURRING PANTHERS: Just like they did a week before against the Gold Coast Titans the Penrith Panthers put on another clinical first half display to take a large lead into half-time against the Manly Sea Eagles. Unlike the previous week (and many other occasions in 2016) the Panthers didn’t let their opponents into the match in the second half. They didn’t go in for the kill either, which given what was at stake the following week against the Bulldogs, isn’t too much of a concern. However the Panthers are yet to put a complete 80 minute performance on the park. This is something they will need to do as we enter the finals series.
ADVANTAGE LOST: Panthers fans will be disappointed that their home final is to be played 65km’s down the road in what is more Bulldog home territory than Panthers. Given the lack of incentive to gain a match at the foot of the mountains leading into this match full credit should be given to the Panthers side and Anthony Griffin for fielding a full strength side. A just reward to the 15,000 strong crowd (which looked much bigger) for showing up to support their team.
CLEARY A FUTURE HERE: The emergence of Nathan Cleary for the Panthers in 2016 will have the Penrith faithful full of optimism for the years to come. He looks to be a true halfback of first grade calibre, and will have a long and successful career in front of him. The powers that be at Penrith should do everything in their power to ensure he stays with the Panthers, and the NRL need to ensure that everything is done to ensure he stays in the NRL Competition for the entiretly of his career.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: After a rather unsuccessful first year at the Manly Sea Eagles, coach Trent Barrett will be going back to the drawing board to attempt to steady the ship again in 2017. Injuries and a lack of a true playmaker to pair with Daly Cherry-Evans meant the 2016 Sea Eagles were always up against the odds to make any significant inroads this season. Another transitional year could be on the horizon for the Silvertails in 2017 unless something big changes from what was displayed in 2016.
PENRITH 36 (J Mansour 2 W Blake B Cartwright P Wallace D Watene-Zelezniak tries N Cleary 6 goals) bt MANLY 6 (J Trbojevic try M Wright goal) at Pepper Stadium.
Referee: Chris Sutton, Grant Atkins.
Half-Time: 24-0 Panthers.