Brendan Wood reviews the Wests Tigers 26-6 win over the Penrith Panthers at Leichhardt Oval. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Daine Laurie (16), Jacob Liddle (36), Luciano Leilua (66), Stefano Utoikamanu (78)
Goals: Adam Doueihi (17, 58, 67, 74, 79)
Tries: Matt Burton (53)
Goals: Stephen Crichton (54)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Daine Laurie (Wests Tigers)
2 pts – Luke Brooks (Wests Tigers)
1 pt – James Fisher-Harris (Penrith Panthers)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The opening exchanges at Leichhardt Oval were an arm wrestle as the Panthers took some time to adjust with their Origin stars missing. After 15 minutes of tight football, the Tigers landed the first blow when Daine Laurie sliced through a gap close to the Panthers line to score.
Despite scoring first points, the Tigers couldn’t maintain their discipline and let the Panthers off the hook. Repeated penalties against the Tigers got the Panthers into attacking position. However, it was clear the competition leaders were missing some polish on the end of their sets.
While they managed to keep the Tigers under pressure, their passing wasn’t as crisp between halves Matt Burton and Tyrone May, which resulted in mistimed runs and passes hitting the deck. At the same time, the Tigers goal line defence held firm, not allowing the Panthers any room to breathe.
With five minutes remaining in the half, Dylan Edwards grubbered but couldn’t find the gap and the ball ricocheted off the knees of Jacob Liddle. He scooped up the loose ball and raced the length of the field to score a fortuitous try. The Tigers held on in the final minutes of the half to keep a 10 point lead intact at the break.
HALF-TIME: Wests Tigers 10 Penrith Panthers 0Embed from Getty Images
There was action from the opening kick-off in the second half. The Tigers received an early penalty but failed to find touch from the kick. In the following set, the Panthers looked to have scored their first points when J’maine Hopgood regathered a kick and grounded in the in-goal. However, the bunker ruled Matt Burton had obstructed Daine Laurie on the play and the try was overturned.
Not long after this, there was plenty of push and shove when James Roberts took exception to Viliame Kikau tackling Daine Laurie in mid-air. It took a few minutes to separate the two sides but eventually the Tigers were awarded the penalty.
After having a try overturned earlier, the Panthers wouldn’t be denied much longer. Matt Burton took on the line on the fifth tackle and broke through to score. With the lead back to four points, the Panthers made an error coming out of their own end to gift field position to the Tigers. The home side received a penalty off the back of the error, and opted to take the two points to extend their lead to six.
In the 65th minute, with the game on a knife’s edge it took a controversial turn. Luciano Leilua looked to have lost the ball in the act of scoring, however the bunker reviewed and found Robert Jennings made high contact in the tackle. As a result, the Tigers were awarded a penalty try.
With time winding down, Matt Burton attempted a short drop-out but found touch on the full, gifting the Tigers a penalty shot right in front. Adam Doueihi converted to make the lead 14, but the Tigers weren’t done scoring. They put the last nail in the Penrith coffin when Stefano Utoikamanu crashed over from close range in the final minutes, handing the Panthers their first loss of the season.
FULL-TIME: Wests Tigers 26 Penrith Panthers 6Embed from Getty Images
Thomas Mikaele (Tigers) – knee
Moses Mbye (Tigers) – knee
Match Review Committee
Robert Jennings (Panthers) – Grade 1 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea $1,350 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1,800 fine.
Dylan Edwards (Panthers) – Grade 1 Contrary Conduct – Early Guilty Plea $1,700 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $2,250 fine.
James Roberts (Tigers) – Grade 1 Contrary Conduct – Early Guilty Plea $1,350 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1,800 fine.
Moses Mbye (Tigers) – Grade 1 Contrary Conduct – Early Guilty Plea $1,150 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1,500 fine.