Craig Gower returned to Penrith after six years away to help the Newcastle Knights on their way to a comfortable 32-14 victory over the Panthers on Sunday.
Gower’s 48th minute try put the Knights into a commanding 14-8 lead. He chased down a perfectly weighted kick from Jarrod Mullen to ground the ball inside the dead ball line. Matt Moylan’s decision to watch the ball go over the dead ball line was costly.
The Knights led 10-8 at half time thanks to Darius Boyd’s try close to half time. Boyd was at his most dangerous making inroads into the Panthers defence moments before he scored.
Dean Whare’s opening try was a talking point post match for Knights coach Wayne Bennett. A spectacular dive at the line was checked to see if Whare grounded the ball before his hand made contact into touch. Bennett said, “his body weight was going down and there’s no way he’s taken a hand off the ground and then replaced it there. You can’t do that . . . it just doesn’t happen.”
Penrith’s loss was compounded by Mose Masoe’s report for a shoulder charge on Robbie Rochow when it appeared there was a head clash between the two players. Lewis Brown’s tackle on Rochow a little later was also placed on report and will come under the most scrutiny of the match review committee.
On a controversial afternoon, Ivan Cleary blasted the officials in the post match press conference. “We had two on report because their guy carrying the ball stayed down,” Cleary said. “Then our man Adam Docker stayed down having made a tackle, but the play went on. He’s got a fractured cheekbone and there was no repercussion for it . . . I’m not happy about that.”
A crucial two points for the Knights with their third away win of the season places them in fifth, while the Panthers loss drops them to ninth place with the Titans and Warriors two points outside the eight.
Penrith Panthers 14 (D Whare, C Newton tries; L Walsh 3 goals) lost to Newcastle Knights 32 (A Uate 2, D Boyd, C Gower, K Snowden, N Costigan tries; T Roberts 4 goals)
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