Lachy MacCorquodale reviews the round 11 clash between the Gold Coast Titans and the Penrith Panthers. Here’s how the game went.
|9th||Try Josh Mansour (Penrith)||Penrith 4-0|
|15th||Try Stephen Crichton (Penrith)||Penrith 8-0|
|17th||Goal Nathan Cleary (Penrith)||Penrith 10-0|
|23rd||Try Jamal Fogarty (Gold Coast)||Penrith 10-4|
|30th||Try Isaah Yeo (Penrith)||Penrith 14-4|
|32nd||Goal Nathan Cleary (Penrith)||Penrith 16-4|
|37th||Try Brian Kelly (Gold Coast)||Penrith 16-8|
|38th||Goal Ashley Taylor (Gold Coast)||Penrith 16-10|
|40th||Try Anthony Don (Gold Coast)||Penrith 16-14|
|60th||Try Malakai Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith)||Penrith 20-14|
|62nd||Goal Nathan Cleary (Penrith)||Penrith 22-14|
The Penrith Panthers immediately put pressure on the home side by having multiple sets in the Titans’ own 20. They eventually cracked in the 10th minute after a big shift play from the Panthers finished with Jarome Luai putting Josh Mansour over in the left-hand corner for the opener. It only took the away side another five minutes before adding to the scoreboard again after another shift play on the left-hand side saw the Panthers capitalise on a big overlap, with Stephen Crichton running 30 metres untouched to score his 10th try of the season. Just eight minutes later, the Titans were able to give their fans something to cheer about through a length-of-the-field try by Jamal Fogarty, which got the Titans back into the game.
The points continued to flow in the opening half as Isaah Yeo took on the Gold Coast defensive line himself, breaking through tackle attempts by Nathan Peats and Sam Stone as he stretched out and slammed the ball down just right of the uprights to give the Panthers a two-try lead. The Titans weren’t going to let the Panthers run away with this in the opening half, as a beautiful grubber kick from Ashley Taylor saw Brian Kelly sprint onto it and ground it just before the dead ball line with three minutes to go. Just when you thought the point-scoring was over for the half, the Titans were able to grab a cheeky try after Anthony Don took the ball from dummy-half and went blindside to score in the corner after a dubious play-the-ball from Dale Copley, bringing the Titans within two points of the Panthers as they headed into the break.
The start of the second term failed to produce the same excitement that the opening half had, with both sides going set-for-set as they battled for territory. Twenty minutes elapsed before the only try of the half was scored, as the Panthers struck with a nice right-edge play that saw Malakai Watene-Zelezniak score his first try of the season courtesy of a nice catch and pass from centre Brent Naden. The Gold Coast showed glimpses of the side they could potentially become in the future as they were able to blunt the majority of Penrith’s attack during the second half, but they still struggled to create their own opportunities due to the lack of polish and X-factor in their side. This will only improve with David Fifita, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, and Herman Ese’ese coming to the club next year.
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary and his coaching staff were showing their frustrations late in the second half, with the Panthers producing multiple errors as they failed to recapture the same form that they’ve experienced throughout the 2020 season. However the Panthers still came away with the two points after shutting out the Titans in the second half; but the home side will be the happier team after keeping up with the competition leaders for the full 80 minutes with an inspired defensive effort.
Jamal Fogarty provided the highlight of the game with his try in the first half. In just his 11th game, the 26-year-old halfback and Kevin Proctor blocked a grubber kick from Jarome Luai which saw the halfback pick the ball up and race 80 metres downfield, fending off Brent Naden as he scored the Titans’ first try of the match. This particular moment was a big turning point for the Titans, as it brought them back into the game after Penrith had raced out to a 10-point lead after just 15 minutes. Including this try, the Titans went on to outscore the away side 14 points to 12 throughout the remainder of the match, but those two early tries for Penrith were enough of a buffer to help them secure the two points and regain the outright lead on the competition ladder.
Gold Coast Titans: 1. Corey Thompson 2. Anthony Don 3. Brian Kelly 4. Dale Copley 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 19. Nathan Peats 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Kevin Proctor 18. Sam Stone 13. Jai Arrow. Interchange: 14. Tanah Boyd 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Jarrod Wallace 21. Jai Whitbread.
Penrith Panthers: 1. Caleb Aekins 2. Josh Mansour 3. Brent Naden 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 13. Isaah Yeo 12. Liam Martin 14. Tyrone May. Interchange: 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Moses Leota 17. Billy Burns 18. Matt Burton.