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2021 NRL Round 18, Panthers 30 Warriors 16 – Report

Brad Inger reviews the Warriors vs Panthers clash. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Warriors 30

Tries: Wayde Egan (8), Rocco Berry (17), Reece Walsh (72)

Goals: Reece Walsh (9, 73)

Panthers 16

Tries: Viliame Kikau (1, 34), Brian To’o (27), Charlie Staines (54, 67), Liam Martin (64),

Goals: Stephen Crichton (28, 35, 65)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Matt Lodge (Warriors)
2 pts – Isaah Yeo (Panthers)
1 pt – Reece Walsh (Warriors)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

The Panthers wasted little time kicking into action with massive second-rower Viliame Kikau charging down a Chad Townsend kick before scooping up the ball and scoring untouched in the match’s opening minutes. After the early scare, the Warriors did not appear rattled and, after some solid defence, found themselves starting their attacking set inside Penrith’s half. After a few promising runs, a short ball from Townsend to Matt Lodge saw the big front-rower in open space before he put Wayde Egan over under the posts, handing the New Zealand side the lead. Tragedy struck the Warriors shortly after with injuries to Tohu Harris, skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Wayde Egan in quick succession. However, the Warriors continued to attack the Panthers line, and a half-break from Reece Walsh saw Rocco Berry cross over in the corner. Despite the injury setbacks, the New Zealand side continued to dominate territory and possession. After a few back and forth sets, Penrith got themselves back in the hunt after the Warriors knocked on a kick. The Panthers scored directly from the following scrum after quickly firing the ball out to the left for Brian To’o to dive across in the corner to level the scores. Fatigue was setting in for the Warriors, but they looked to have scored through Josh Curran, only for the pass to be ruled forward; this let Penrith off the hook. They surged up the field with the assistance of some six again calls and were once again ahead on the scoreboard after Kikau barged over for his second try of the afternoon. The Panthers attempted a two-point field goal in the dying seconds of the half, but they did not have the distance, which saw the teams go into the sheds with Penrith leading 16-10.

HALF-TIME: Penrith Panthers 16 New Zealand Warriors 10

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2nd Half

After a much-needed break, the Warriors started the second half with no players on the bench. Still, they dominated the early stages of the half, with the Panthers making several uncharacteristic handling errors but were unable to convert their possession into points. Once Penrith managed to keep hold of the ball, they strolled up the field with ease, but the Warriors displayed some heroic goal-line defence and kept them out. A Townsend kick early in the set got the Warriors out of their own half only to find themselves in trouble immediately when Dylan Edwards returned the ball with an exciting 60-metre run; the Warriors were backpedalling and put in some good try saving tackles but could not hold on as Charlie Staines scored in the corner to push the Panthers lead out further. The New Zealand side, to their credit, did not drop their heads and showed plenty of heart, but they struggled to get the ball back and were out on their feet; Penrith kept moving forward and were finding gaps all over the Warriors defensive line and were over the try line once again after Liam Martin broke the line and ran 20 metres untouched. Penrith were not done yet, rolling up the field before throwing a massive cutout pass to Staines for his second try of the day. The New Zealand side managed to stem the flow and get their hands on the ball. Despited running on empty, the Warriors played some entertaining football, throwing some offloads and almost scoring a try through Reece Walsh before he was stopped with head-high tackle. A few tackles after that penalty saw Walsh finally cross the line after snapping up a Josh Curran offload. The game’s final minutes saw the Warriors hold onto the lions’ share of the ball, but a few wayward passes saw them unable to add to their try tally. A break from Moses Leota saw the Panthers ready to pounce once again. Still, the Warriors managed to wrestle him down as the final whistle blew, seeing Penrith come away with a 30-16 victory, with the New Zealand side earning plenty of respect for their effort with only 13 men.

FULL-TIME: Penrith Panthers 30 New Zealand 16

Injuries

to be advised

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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