Penrith Panthers moved into second spot on the National Rugby League ladder following their 35-12 victory over Gold Coast Titans at Panthers Stadium on Sunday.
Two form sides met at Panthers Stadium and produced a scintillating first forty minutes. Gold Coast were on top early thanks to Dale Copley’s try just six minutes in. It took twenty-five minutes for the home side to cross through Corey Harawira-Naera. Once James Tamou stepped his way over with four minutes left until the break, Penrith not only headed into the sheds ahead 10-6 but also carried the momentum.
Early in the second stanza James Maloney found space on the Titan’s right hand defence before passing back inside for Dylan Edwards to extend the lead to ten points. Bryce Cartwright’s sin bin following a general caution broke the game open with Tyrone Peachey scoring against the club he will play for in 2019. Anthony Don gave the Titans a glimmer of hope with twenty-two minutes to play. In the end Penrith Panthers proved too good with Harawira-Naera’s second and Christian Crichton’s first try in the NRL. The Titans failed to take advantage of the sin-bin of debutant Kaide Ellis in the closing stages. Penrith proving too good for the Gold Coast outfit.
JAMES MALONEY SWAP SUCCESSFUL
Nathan Cleary might have taken some of the limelight earlier this season before he was injured. Since then, it’s been James Maloney week after week turning back the clock and putting in superb performances. In the lead-up to Maloney’s return to Southern Cross Group Stadium next Sunday, Panther fans will be very happy they got the better deal in the swap with Matt Moylan. Another quality game from Jimmy with two line breaks and a try assist.
TITANS STRUGGLE AFTER BIG FORTNIGHT
Just three weeks ago you wouldn’t have expected the Titans to win back to back, let alone beat the Broncos, after the dismal display against St George-Illawarra Dragons at Toowoomba. They fell back into some bad habits after a good opening half. Jarrod Wallace was found out in defence a couple of times which allowed the Panthers to create scoring opportunities. No side can afford to let the opposition make nine line breaks and not expect to be in the game. Garth Brennan needs to address the Titans defence before their trip to Townsville.
BRYCE CARTWRIGHTS UNHAPPY RETURN
There are many Titans players returning to play against their former club. Mick Gordon built a career at the club, Mitch Rein left for an opportunity and Leilani Latu made the move during the off-season. But it was Bryce Cartwright who came under the microscope the most with his introduction at the back end of the first half. His sin bin ten minutes after the break brought a huge roar from the locals. As Cartwright left the field, Reagan Campbell-Gillard gave him a cheeky smile from the Panthers bench. It was a costly ten minutes at the Titans tired in defence and the Panthers took full advantage. To make matters worse, Cartwright clashed in the warm up with Morgan Boyle who was subsequently was a late scratching.
NATHAN PEATS INJURY A HUGE BLOW FOR TITANS
The injury to Nathan Peats could be significant for the Titans short-term. He went to the sheds at around the 25 minute mark with a shoulder problem and did not return for the second half. A solid player in defence and crafty in attack, the Titans may have lacked a little in direction as Kane Elgey and Ashley Taylor struggled to create opportunities. Any stint on the sidelines will present Mitch Rein with a chance to start. History says that Rein’s record filling in for Peter Wallace last year helped the Panthers out of a hole.
PENRITH PANTHERS 35
Tries: Corey Harawira-Naera 2, James Tamou, Dylan Edwards, Tyrone Peachey, Christian Crichton
Goals: James Maloney 5
Drop Goals: James Maloney
GOLD COAST TITANS 12
Tries: Dale Copley, Anthony Don
Goals: Michael Gordon 2
Drop Goals: n/a
Panthers: 1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Isaah Yeo, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Christian Crichton, 6 Tyrone Peachey, 7 James Maloney, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Peter Wallace (c), 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Corey Harawira-Naera, 13 James Fisher-Harris. Interchange: 20 Sione Katoa, 15 Kaide Ellis, 16 Moses Leota, 17 James Tamou
Titans: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 Kane Elgey, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Nathan Peats (c), 10 Max King, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Will Matthews, 13 Jai Arrow. Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 20 Ryan Simpkins, 16 Bryce Cartwright, 17 Jack Stockwell