Penrith Panthers kept their finals hopes alive with a hard fought 16-8 victory over Manly Sea Eagles.  A match that will be overshadowed by Daly Cherry-Evans’ run in with on-field official Henry Perenara.

DID CHERRY-EVANS CROSS THE LINE WITH PERENARA?

The battle between Daly Cherry-Evans and lead referee Henry Perenara is set to have the biggest fallout from the game.  Close to half-time there was a heated discussion between the pair as the penalty count blew out in Penrith’s favour, where Cherry-Evans sailed a fine line between making an accusation against the official.  This could have landed him in hot water and potentially a contrary conduct charge if he want one step further.

There was a lot of talk on social media post game about the performance of Perenara being the worse in recent memory.  Maybe his performance is systematic of the current referee system with Tony Archer at the helm.  We thought refereeing hit an all time low just over a month ago when Akuila Uate’s dropped the ball over the line which ended up costing the Knights victory.  That standard appears to be dropping further.

JAMES TAMOU ANSWERS CRITICS

The transition from North Queensland Cowboys to Penrith Panthers hasn’t been smooth for James Tamou.  Last night Tamou put in his best performance for the club.  He looked like an on-field leader of the forward pack with his positive impact in scoring the opening try, making 155 metres in sixteen hit-ups whilst making 23 tackles.  Maybe he’s turned the corner at the right time of the season with Penrith in ‘must-win’ mode for the remainder of the season.

SHAUN LANE DESERVES REGULAR NRL

It’s been a turbulent two years for Shaun Lane after bursting onto the scene with Canterbury Bulldogs in the second half of the 2015 season.  For some reason he was swapped with Raymond Faitala-Mariner and sent to the New Zealand Warriors.  Last night was his second appearance for his third club in as many years.  He set up Tom Trbojevic’s try five minutes after the break in a solid performance, making the most ground of any other Sea Eagles forward and game high top-tackling with 39.  On that performance we should be seeing more of Lane in the weeks to come.

PENRITH MIX OF PATIENCE AND INEXPERIENCE

Manly came up with the perfect plan to frustrate and limit Penrith’s chances within the red-zone.  Time after time the home side came up empty as the Sea Eagles successfully scrambled in defence.  This isn’t the first time this year Penrith have struggled to score against a top four side.  They got over the line once against Melbourne (6-28) and failed to pack a punch against Cronulla (2-28), the best two defensive sides in the premiership.  It’s as much a need to be patient as it is inexperience with a young side led by a teenage halfback with plenty of promise.  There’s some truth in what Anthony Griffin said in the lead-up to the match about his side’s expectations.

SCOREBOARD

PENRITH PANTHERS 16
Tries: James Tamou, Dallin-Watene-Zelezniak
Goals: Nathan Cleary 4

MANLY SEA EAGLES 8
Tries: Dylan Walker, Tom Trbojevic