2023 NRL Round 15: Panthers 30, Roosters 6

Penrith Panthers produced a dominant second half performance to put away a battling Roosters outfit in a fiery affair at Allianz Stadium.

Result

Penrith Panthers 30
Tries: Stephen Crichton 10th; Dylan Edwards 35th; Isaah Yeo 46’h; Brian To’o 49th; Izack Tago 52th
Goals: Stephen Crichton 36th, 48th, 51st, 53rd, 74th

Sydney Roosters 6
Tries: James Tedesco 60th
Goals: Luke Keary 61st

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Early ill-discipline from the Roosters invited Penrith onto their line and the visitors duly obliged with incisive attack despite missing talisman Nathan Cleary. The early pressure culminated in Isaah Yeo poking his nose through the middle and stumbling over from close range under a number of Roosters defensive efforts; one of which paid off, with the try being chalked off for a double movement with Yeo ruled tackled before the line.

Penrith got another opportunity to attack the Roosters’ line off the back of some errors from the home side and they were able to force a goal-line drop-out on the nine-minute mark. A repeat set later, and an impressive cut-out ball from Jarome Luai, found Stephen Crichton who muscled his way over down the Panthers’ right edge to open the scoring.

Some stout defence in the middle period of the half saw Penrith hold out the Roosters attack that was aided by repeat sets from the visitors’ infringements. The game was set alight once again with 25 minutes played after a mismanaged fifth tackle Roosters kick turned into prime attacking opportunity down the right edge, which ended with a fingertip save from a Penrith sweeper to stave away a dangerous attacking kick through the middle.

The two teams continued to grind out sets for the remainder of the half and, after some Roosters pressure in the final 10 minutes, Liam Martin broke the line on an exit set and fed Dylan Edwards to finish off a long range try and put Penrith up 10-0 after a Crichton conversion. The Roosters made a late jaunt at the Panthers’ line but excellent scramble defence held out the extensive attack to preserve the 10 point margin going into the half-time break.

Penrith made the defence count with a fast start to the second half – which started with Isaah Yeo crossing just over six minutes in and Brian To’o backing up the try with one of his own just three minutes later. The pair put the lead out to 22-0 in a matter of minutes, with Crichton converting both. They didn’t leave it long to twist the knife and Izack Tago got on the end of a break down the Panthers left edge and scored close to the sticks with just 12 minutes of the half played, extending the lead to 28-0 after another Crichton conversion.

The Roosters didn’t completely collapse however, and got one back through James Tedesco with good shape down their left edge. Luke Keary converted to cut the margin to 22 points and the Roosters began to return the ball with vigour.

Penrith were the next to go close though and had the Roosters pinned on the ensuing defensive set, only for Martin to catch Jared Waerea-Hargreaves’ elbow and knock himself out with a Grade 1 concussion just 11 days before the next State Of Origin. Waerea-Hargreaves took another victim in the form of Moses Leota – taking an elbow to the head which split him and sent the prop off for a Head Injury Assessment, with the contact being ruled incidental by the officials.

With the middle heating up, a fracas broke out after an exchange of words between Waerea-Hargreaves and Spencer Leniu was ignited by the former spraying water and launching the bottle at the latter. The scuffle continued for a couple of minutes and saw the pair sent for an early shower with seven minutes left, after which Leniu offered out Waerea-Hargreaves and the crowd of his future club on his way to the changing rooms. Crichton duly converted the ensuing penalty and put Penrith 30-6 in the lead.

The two sides traded sets against tired but resilient defence for the final six minutes, and the Roosters’ final attack couldn’t break the excellent Penrith defence, who took the two points with ease 30-6.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS

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3 – Brian To’o (Panthers)
2 – Scott Sorensen (Panthers)
1 – Isiah Yeo (Panthers)

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