Penrith Panthers 18
Tries:Dean Whare 2, Josh Mansour
Goals:Jamie Soward 3/3
St George Illawarra Dragons 14
Tries:Jason Nightingale 2, Charly Runciman
Goals:Gareth Widdop 1/3
The Penrith Panthers justified their position on top of the NRL ladder with a hard-fought 18-14 triumph over the St George Illawarra Dragons at Centrebet Stadium overnight.
The Panthers led 12-4 at half time and despite the Dragons getting within two points of the home side, they hung on to record their 5th consecutive win.
The Panthers struck early when a set back line move saw centre Dean Whare dive over in the right corner. Jamie Soward converted for a 6-0 lead after 5 minutes.
They made it 12-0 after 23 minutes when Kevin Naiqama tapped a Peter Wallace bomb back to Whare to score.
A 35th minute try to Charly Runciman kept the Dragons in the match, who lost Tyson Frizell earlier in the match with an ankle injury.
Just two minutes into the second half Jason Nightingale took advantage of some Adam Quinlan magic and the right winger touched down on the left side. Again Widdop missed the conversion and it was 12-10 early in the second half.
The Panthers edged further in front with a brilliant team try that covered 50 metres and ended with Josh Mansour scoring a great try. Soward’s perfect night continued and they led 18-10 after 56 minutes.
A 78th-minute try to Nightingale ensured a nervous end to the match for fans of both sides, but the Panthers saw the match out and remain the team to beat in 2014.