The Sydney Roosters have beaten the Penrith Panthers 22-6 at the SCG, securing a top two finish and ending the Panthers’ finals hopes.
The Panthers got off to quick start when Viliame Kikau crashed over for a try off the back of an early line drop-out from the Roosters. The home side recovered well from this early blow, managing to shift the momentum and force a few drop-outs of their own. The Roosters were denied a try soon after, when Daniel Tupou knocked-on over the line off a Luke Keary kick. This didn’t deter the Roosters, as Sam Verrills was able to scoot out of dummy-half for a try soon after to level the scores at 6-6.
In the following set, Angus Crichton made a line-break to set up James Tedesco, who scored under the posts to give the Roosters the lead. A downpour of rain and gusty winds slowed both sides down to change the complexion of the first half. The Panthers looked to have scored just before halftime, but the decision was overturned by the video referee for a controversial obstruction. The Roosters held onto their lead and went into the break up 12-6.
It took about ten minutes for both teams to find a rhythm in the second half, but it was the Roosters who got on the board first. Latrell Mitchell steamrolled his way through the Panthers defence to extend the lead to 16-6. He converted a penalty goal shortly after this to push the lead to two converted tries. It didn’t get any easier for the Panthers as they lost Viliame Kikau to HIA. Despite his absence, the Panthers threw everything they could at the Roosters defence but just couldn’t find a way over the line. The Roosters outlasted the onslaught from Penrith and were able to put the game to bed when Latrell Mitchell put Daniel Tupou over in the corner. This was the final nail in the Panthers’ coffin, as the Roosters ran out eventual 22-6 winners.
Chooks flex premiership muscle
With no Cooper Cronk tonight, there was somewhat of a question mark about how the Roosters would play against a desperate Panthers team. Those doubts were laid to rest quickly as they scored back-to-back early tries after conceding the opening points. They were also missing captain Boyd Cordner tonight. When the Roosters are full strength, they present a seriously strong threat to become the first team since the Broncos of 92-93 to win back-to-back premierships.
Video referee a talking point again
There were a few pivotal moments in the first half and both were surrounding the video referee. Firstly, the Roosters were denied an early try after the video referee ruled Daniel Tupou had knocked-on in mid-air, which they needed several slo-mo replays to determine. Secondly, the Panthers were denied a try when Reagan Campbell-Gillard stopped in the defensive line, even though Rooster Zane Tetevano effectively gave up on the play. Both raised the question; is this the way the game should be refereed?
Panthers hopes dashed, season over
The Panthers needed to win this game and win big to stay alive. It was always going to be a tough ask against the defending premiers but ultimately, they fell short. Penrith can be proud of their effort, but it won’t be enough to extend their season past round 25. They will not be able to make the finals, as even if they can beat the Knights next week, there are simply too many results that must go their way.
Finals picture almost complete
With the Panthers bowing out of the finals race with this loss, the finals picture has become much clearer. The Storm have secured the minor premiership and the Roosters locked up second with a win tonight. With the Tigers playing the Sharks next week, it’s looking like the winner of that game will take the last place in the 2019 finals series.
Sydney Roosters 22
Tries: Verrills, Tedesco, Mitchell, Tupou
Goals: Mitchell 3/5
Drop Goals: n/a
Penrith Panthers 6
Goals: Cleary 1/1
Drop Goals: n/a
Sydney Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 25. Drew Hutchison 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Isaac Liu 11. Angus Crichton 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Victor Radley Bench: 14. Lindsay Collins 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Nat Butcher 17. Siosiua Taukeiaho
Penrith Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Stephen Crichton 3. Dean Whare 4. Brent Naden 5. Brian To’o 6. James Maloney 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 19. Sione Katoa 10. Moses Leota 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. James Fisher-Harris Bench: 15. Spencer Leniu 16. William Burns 17. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 18. Wade Egan