NRL Match Review: Penrith Panthers 32 Newcastle Knights 10

Penrith have won their fifth game of the 2014 National Rugby League premiership after a 32-10 victory over Newcastle at Hunter Stadium this afternoon.

This continues the ‘vicious’ win-loss cycle the club has been on since round one of the competition and they’ll be hoping to break the cycle next weekend with victory in Canberra.

Penrith were forced to play most of the game without prop Nigel Plum, who went off concussed in being reported for an incorrect tackle on Jarrod Mullen as his kick was charged down in the twenty-fifth minute.  It appeared that Plum was attempting a charge down but the close proximity of the charge down and the follow through was deemed illegal by the officials.  For Plum’s efforts, he hit the right shoulder of Jarrod Mullen and was concussed with bleeding coming from the mouth.  Plum has been cleared of any major injury.  This makes Penrith’s efforts to win their first away game for the season with only sixteen men for fifty-five minutes more courageous.

The visitors led by 16-10 going into half time after Newcastle appeared to jump out of the blocks, looking keener in the earlier exchanges.  For the Knights it was an error-riddled game which was emphasised in the fifty-first minute when Dean Whare pounced on a loose ball and went eighty metres to put the Panthers ahead with a match winning 26-10 lead.

James McManus opened the scoring after six minutes after the Knights quick hands caught out the Panthers right side defense.  It wasn’t too long until Penrith replied through Dave Simmons following a Jarrod Mullen fumble which was compounded by the number six being penalised soon after.

At the twenty minute mark the Panthers took the lead after some ‘freakish’ play by Matt Moylan to keep inside the ingoal a kick from Wallace which looked destined to be too far.  An in-goal mistake to pass the ball from the Knights ended up in Moylan’s direction to ground the ball.  A well deserved try for continued persistence.

Nigel Plum’s injury and back to back penalties saw the Knights level scores when video officials confirmed Dane Gagai forced the ball over the line despite the hands of Jamal Idris being underneath the ball.  Newcastle gave up the lead in the final minutes leading up to the main break when Jamie Soward decided to take on the line on the last tackle and came up trumphs.  Soward’s first try for the Panthers gave him a twelve point tally for the game.

If Newcastle started the game strong, Penrith came out full of fire in the second half.  Unlike the Knights, Penrith were able to convert.  This proved to be the difference between the two sides.  Soward’s deliberate kick over the top was tapped back by Idris who provided the try assist as Mansour went over in the corner after forty-five minutes.  Whare’s four pointer six minutes later added more misery to the home side.

Newcastle were without their chances as they tried to expose Penrith’s right hand side defense but couldn’t break them.  Jamie Soward’s penalty goal with five to play and James Segeyaro’s dummy half try against some tired defense rounded out the scoring for the Panthers on a successful afternoon at Hunter Stadium.

Penrith were best served by Matt Moylan, Jamie Soward and Adam Docker.  The Knights in defeat saw Kade Snowden and Adam Cuthbertson shine on a dark afternoon for the home side.  Plum is on report for the Panthers while young Knights utility Adam Clydesdale is on report for a crusher tackle late in the match on Jeremy Latimore.

Newcastle’s trip to Manly next week might be the end of their hopes to play finals footy only ten games into the season.

PENRITH PANTHERS 32 (David Simmons, Matt Moylan, Jamie Soward, Josh Mansour, James Segeyaro tries; Jamie Soward 4 goals) defeated NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 10 (James McManus, Dane Gagai tries; Jarrod Mullen goal)


If you have been reading these blogs over the year so far, there will be a point in time when Kevvy Kingston won’t be with the Panthers.  Today’s transition for James Segeyaro to play a full eighty had its moments.  Anyone thinking we’d suffer defensively shouldn’t be worried.  Segeyaro topped the tackle count with thirty-nine and scored a simple dummy half try with a few minutes to go.  People will be quick to bag him but let’s be fair – it’s one of the few times he’s played a full eighty and for that he deserves high marks in a great win at Newcastle.


When Peter Wallace lashed out at James Roberts with a boot, the parochial Hunter Stadium crowd were calling for Wally’s head.  I want to ask you a question – If you’re flat on your back and want to get up to play the ball, what’s your first reaction?  To push your legs upwards to try to regain your feet or to rollover (maybe not an option for Wallace on this occasion)… I’m sure the Match Review Committee will try and find a non-commonsense way to punish Wally for an accident… but there’s nothing in it!


Another bone to pick with the officials.  One of three.  Nigel Plum’s first attempt was to ‘charge down’ the kick, not to make an illegal play on Jarrod Mullen.  I feel again no commonsense used here.  It was excellent pressure from Penrith.  The fact Plum was right on top of Mullen to smother the ball first – the follow through collected Mullen by accident.  This led to Gagai’s try to level scores at 10-all.  Hopefully the Match Review Committee don’t take any action over this farcical incident.


I’m pretty sure Brett Suttor has form.  Was he the ref involved in penalising Jarrod Sammut in Canberra a few years back for time wasting from a goal line dropout?  Well if it was, he was at it again today.  Penrith in his opinion were too slow to form a scrum that was to be set ten metres from their line.  Mr Suttor decided to give the Knights a penalty.  Wonder if he would do that against the Broncos at Suncorp, or Manly at Brookvale?


At the end of last season rookie Matt Moylan lost puff and lacked commitment in chasing kicks down from general play.  I raise a glass to Matty Moylan.  Fast becoming one of the Panthers safest fullbacks in the last decade since Wesser left the club.  The maturity of Moylan at National Rugby League level was displayed with the persistence to score a try where he could have also been the try-assist for keeping the ball in play.  Another strong game from the talented fullback.


W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W.  A road trip to Canberra awaits with their side conceding fifty points in back to back rounds.  For Penrith to be a finals quality side, this is a must win game.  This is unfamiliar territory for the boys and a sign of Ivan’s influence to turn around this club.  To be six wins from ten games with a win next weekend surely will put ‘bums on seats’ at SportingBet Stadium.



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