Jack Harbidge reviews Penrith’s Round 24 victory over Wests Tigers as they draw level on points with Melbourne with just one round to play. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Moses Leota (13), Tevita Pangai Junior (35), Jarome Luai (43), Viliame Kikau (49), Brian To’o (64).
Goals: Nathan Cleary (15, 36, 45, 50, 66)
Tries: Stefano Utoikamanu (16), Jake Simpkin (71), Ken Maumalo (75).
Goals: Luke Brooks (18, 72)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Jerome Luai (Penrith Panthers)
2 pts – Viliame Kikau (Penrith Panthers)
1 pt – Brian To’o (Penrith Panthers)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Errors dicated the tempo of the opening exchanges in the game, with both sides seemingly unable to keep a hold on the ball or their own discipline. Matt Burton, Nathan Cleary, Brian To’o, and Dylan Edwards all added to the error count in the opening 10 minutes to put their side on the back foot from the start of the contest.
The Panthers didn’t panic, however, and soon found some success off the back of an excellent kick from Nathan Cleary to put Moses Leota over under the sticks. Despite having nothing to play for, the Tigers answered back almost immediately with Jacob Liddle breaking through extremely soft middle defence from the Panthers to give a ball to Stefano Utoikamanu to score under the posts.
Following the exchange of tries, the two sides traded sets for the following 20 minutes before Tevita Pangai Junior crossed the whitewash with a muscular effort 10 meters out through the heart of the Tigers’ defence. The try, and ensuing conversion, put the Panthers six points up at the half-time whistle.
HALF-TIME: Penrith Panthers 12 Wests Tigers 6Embed from Getty Images
Penrith came out in the second half with far more intent than the first and Jerome Luai got them on the scoreboard just three-and-a-half minutes in with a great individual try down the Panthers’ right edge. With the Panthers on top, Nathan Cleary looked to extend his side’s lead and put Viliame Kikau through a gap on the left edge: he then made light work of Tigers’ fullback Moses Mbye to score the fourth try for Penrith.
With just under half-an-hour to play, Penrith began to take their foot off the gas and multiple errors cost them try scoring opportunities to put the game out of reach of the Tigers. The building pressure from weight of possession in the Panthers’ favour, however, did pay dividends 65 minutes in with Brian To’o crossing in the corner off the back of a well-worked scrum move.
Penrith appeared to have broken Wests, but more errors stopped the Panthers scoring any more points for the remainder of the match after Kikau failed to keep control of the ball when grounding it on the following set after the try. With the Penrith players casting a somewhat complacent figure, the Tigers took advantage of careless errors and infringements with Jake Simpin scoring nine minutes from time. With their tails up, and another error from Matt Burton, Ken Maumalo converted good field position off the back of a fifth tackle kick with an impressive finish in the corner.
The final consolation try cut the Penrith winning margin to 14 points in what ended up being a wholly underwhelming performance by the top spot-chasing Panthers, though they got the job done.
FULL-TIME: Penrith Panthers 30 Wests Tigers 16
to be advised
Match Review Committee
to be advised