Brendan Wood reviews the Penrith Panthers convincing 30-6 win over the Wests Tigers. Here’s how the game went.
|9th||Try – David Nofoaluma (Tigers)||Tigers 6-0|
|30th||Try – Jerome Luai (Panthers)||6 All|
|37th||Try – Liam Martin (Panthers)||Panthers 12-6|
|40th||Penalty Goal – Nathan Cleary (Panthers)||Panthers 14-6|
|53rd||Try – Brian To’o (Panthers)||Panthers 18-6|
|74th||Penalty Try – Stephen Crichton (Panthers)||Panthers 24-6|
|80th||Try – Josh Mansour (Panthers)||Panthers 30-6|
Penrith started with purpose and dominated the field position in the early exchanges. Despite the strong start, they made some errors to invite the Tigers into the contest. The Tigers made the most of the opportunity and landed the first blow when Benji Marshall caught the Panthers napping. He chipped a kick in behind the defence for David Nofoaluma to win the race to the ball and score.
The ensuing 20 minutes had plenty of intensity but no points as both teams adjusted to the pace of the game. The Panthers had a few sets attacking but couldn’t crack the Tiger’s goal line defence. Tempers began to flare as the niggle between the two sides continued to escalate.
Eventually Adam Doueihi made an error off a Nathan Cleary bomb which gave the Panthers the perfect platform to score their first points. Jerome Luai ran the ball early in the set and through a determined effort, reached out to plant the ball on the line.
Following their first try, the home side found some rhythm in attack and off the back of a penalty, they had their second. Nathan Cleary held up a pass for Liam Martin to brush off an attempted tackle and cross the stripe.
The try to Martin seemed to rattle the Tigers as fatigue started to set in. They lost concentration just before half time and made an error, which resulted in Adam Doueihi being sin binned for giving away a penalty on the next play. Nathan Cleary opted for the two points and the Panthers went into the break leading 14-6.
Despite the Tigers being down to 12 men for the first 10 minutes, they did a solid job managing the possession of the ball and got through that period without conceding any further points.
With Adam Doueihi back on the field, the Panthers eventually got some six again calls and made the Tigers pay. Tyrone May threw a rainbow pass over to Brian To’o who beat two tackles and scored in his first game back from injury.
The home side got a surge of confidence from the To’o try as they went up a gear in defence. In the next set, they lined up each Tiger who ran the ball and drove them back several metres to stymie the Tigers attack.
Off the back of their defence they turned the screws on the Tigers and didn’t let them back into the game. Off the back of a Tigers error, Joey Leilua gave away a penalty try when he took out Stephen Crichton, who would’ve scored a try if untouched.
With time winding down, the Panthers spread the ball to the wing of Josh Mansour who cut back in field to score, putting the final nail in the Tigers’ coffin and capping off a convincing 30-6 victory.
The highlight of the game was the final 10 minutes of the first half. It had everything, plenty of niggle, 14 points and a sin binning. Ultimately this period ended up influencing the outcome of the game. In the 20 minutes after the Tigers scored, the intensity of the game began to reach boiling point. Jerome Luai broke the shackles when he scored his try, followed closely by Liam Martin.
These two tries, as well as the sin binning to Adam Doueihi in the shadows of half time, sapped the energy out of the Tigers to begin the second half and allowed the Panthers to take control of the game.
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Brent Naden 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Mitch Kenny 10. Moses Leota 11. Isaah Yeo 12. Liam Martin 13. James Fisher-Harris Bench: 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Billy Burns 17. Zane Tetevano
Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Tommy Talau 6. Luke Brooks 7. Benji Marshall 14. Matt Eisenhuth 9. Harry Grant 10. Thomas Mikaele 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal Bench: 15. Elijah Taylor 16. Jacob Liddle 17. Shawn Blore 19. Sam McIntrye