Brad Inger reviews the Round 24 clash between the Panthers and the Warriors at BlueBet Stadium; here’s how the match went.
Tries: Taylan May (19, 64), Brian To’o (28, 36), Sean O’Sullivan (39), Stephen Crichton (45), Viliame Kikau (53), Isaah Yeo (78)
Goals: Stephen Crichton 7/8 (20, 29, 40, 47, 55, 66, 79)
Tries: Reece Walsh (3), Eliesa Katoa (58)
Goals: Reece Walsh 2/2 (4, 59)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
To the surprise of everyone, it was the Warriors that started the match strong, scoring in the third minute after Dunamis Lui broke the line before shifting the ball to the returning Chanel Harris-Tavita before Reece Walsh finished the 80-metre play.
The Panthers struggled to get into the contest blowing several scoring attempts with poor errors but eventually got themselves on the scoreboard in the 19th minute when Taylan May crossed in the corner after a nice pass from Viliami Kikau; this saw the scores levelled after Stephen Crichton nailed the sideline conversion. The home side kept the pressure on and was over again ten minutes later, with Brian To’o scoring in the right corner after some nice quick passes opened the Warrior’s defensive line.
A penalty against Sean O’Sullivan for an escort handed the Warriors great field position. Still, the Panther’s defence held firm as they held back several sets from the visitors, including a near miss from Viliami Vailea, who knocked on a Shaun Johnson grubber. Penrith then went the length of the field in back-to-back plays to score two tries via To’o and O’Sullivan to end the first half with a healthy 16-point lead.
The second half started with unfortunate news for the Warriors as Shaun Johnson was ruled out of the rest of the match with a calf injury.
The Panthers wasted little time adding to their lead, scoring tries through Stephen Crichton in the 45th minute and the 53rd minute via Viliami Kikau, with the Warrior’s defence looking pretty ordinary. The visitors did show some life on attack, with Tohu Harris putting Eliesa Katoa into space with a short ball for the Warrior’s second try in the 58th minute before the Panthers struck back with their seventh try in the 64th minute when May touched down for his second of the night.
The younger winger appeared to have scored a hat trick a few plays later, but the bunker took it away after ruling that Kikau had knocked it on.
The Panthers kept pushing forward and were rewarded with their eighth and final try on the night in the 78th minute when Isaah Yeo barged his way to the line; it looked like he didn’t get the ball to the line; however, the bunker ruled that Walsh slid in with his legs and this prevented the try from being scored, so a penalty try was given which saw the home side end the match with a dominant 46-12 victory.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Stephen Crichton (Panthers), 2 pts – James Fisher-Harris (Panthers), 1 pt – Tohu Harris (Warriors)
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