Jack Harbidge reviews the Round 2 clash as St George Illawarra Dragons host Penrith Panthers at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium…
St. George Illawarra Dragons 16
Tries: Tyrell Sloan (23), Jaydn Su’A (50)
Goals: Zac Lomax 2 (25, 52)
Penrith Panthers 20
Tries: Viliame Kikau (10, 33), Spencer Leniu (30)
Goals: Stephen Crichton 4 (11, 28, 31, 35)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Viliame Kikau led from the front for the visiting side and got off to an ideal start in his 100th game for the club. The explosive back rower came up trumps with a complete effort play and charged down a Ben Hunt kick to then run the ball in from over 30 metres out. Following the opener, the sides traded sets as the Dragons tried to get back into the game with limited success off the back of completely inept attack. They did succeed through the air, however, and Tyrell Sloan got on the end of a well-placed Hunt cross-field kick to dot down just to the right of the sticks.
Penrith continued to dominate the game without capitalising on the scoreboard until Stephen Crichton knocked over a penalty goal with just over 10 minutes of the half to play. From then on, the visitors piled on the pressure against a tiring Dragons side with the benefit of Jaydn Su’A in the sin bin for a late hit prior to Stephen Crichton’s penalty. Spencer Leniu crossed under the posts through extremely soft Dragons defence and Kikau backed up the try with his second off the game after cutting through the left edge with a classy line to put the Panthers up 14 points going into half time.
HALF-TIME: St. George Illawarra Dragons 6 Penrith Panthers 20Embed from Getty Images
The second half proved a dour affair for the most of the half, with the Dragons attack lacking any cutting edge. They were dealt another blow early in the half when Andrew McCullough went off with what looked like a dislocated shoulder, but his replacement in Moses Mbye brought a great amount of impetus and played a part in their try through Jaydn Su’A, who cut the Panthers lead to just eight points after a Zac Lomax conversion.
Penrith continued to pressure the home side, however, and Zac Lomax was sent to the bin for a professional foul with 25 minutes to play. The Panthers failed to capitalise during the sin-bin period despite a pair of successful captains challenges at crucial moments. St. George appeared to gain a boost in morale and became the dominant side in the final ten minutes. The dominance finally paid off for the home side with Zac Lomax crossing off the back of a well-executed early kick and the lead was cut to four. A comeback looked on when the Dragons received a penalty to give them a set on the line, but the skill execution left more to be desired for the Panthers to make it two from two.
FULL-TIME: St. George Illawarra Dragons 16 Penrith Panthers 20
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Isaah Yeo (Penrith Panthers), 2 pts – Viliame Kikau (Penrith Panthers), 1 pt – Jaydn Su’A (St. George Illawarra Dragons)
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