2023 NRL Round 2: Panthers 16, Rabbitohs 10

Penrith returned to their winning ways on Thursday night, beating the South Sydney Rabbitohs 16-10 where they dominated most of the match before a late Souths comeback.


Penrith Panthers 16
Tries: Stephen Crichton 3 min, Izack Tago 39 min, Brian To’o 52 min
Goals: Stephen Crichton 1 (40 min) Nathan Cleary 1 (47 min)

South Sydney Rabbitohs 10
Tries: Alex Johnston 67 min, Isiah Tass 78 min
Goals: Latrell Mitchell 1 (78 min)

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Penrith came into the game on a rare run of two consecutive competitive losses, but an early try eased the home side’s nerves, going to Stephen Crichton of course. The Panthers temporarily lost Mitch Kenny to a HIA after 15 minutes after he wore the brunt of a bullocking Thomas Burgess hip, but there wasn’t much between the sides in the first 20 minutes , which featured plenty of penalties and the occasional error. Both sides managed to put pressure on each other and repel the attacks.

The home side looked to have broken through for the second try of the match, as Luke Garner showed just a hint of that Kikau magic they have missed, but it was overruled eventually by The Bunker for a knock on. They waited until seconds before the half-time siren to extend the lead, with Jarome Luai setting up a try with a run and a karate-style kick which ended in Izack Tago scoring the try. Penrith took a 10-0 lead to the break after Stephen Crichton took the conversion, which meant bad news for Penrith as Nathan Cleary limped from the field.

Cleary returned for the second half and even added the half’s first points with a penalty kick; and his side dominated the early parts of the second half, putting South Sydney under relentless pressure which eventually ended in more points through Brian To’o. But against the trend of the match, South Sydney scored their first try with under 15 minutes to go through the holy trinity of Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell, and the try-scorer Alex Johnston.

South Sydney threatened to make a game of it, as their big stars waited until late to shine, but they had to settle for an Isiah Tass try with two minutes to go. In fairness, Penrith thoroughly deserved the win, and looked closer to their best, while South Sydney will certainly have better days this season.

The only sour note for the home side was the news during the Fox League broadcast of an alleged racial slur towards Mitchell as they head up the tunnel for half-time, which will take away some of the shine and no doubt grab more of the headlines than the game.


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3 – Stephen Crichton (Panthers)
2 – Jarome Luai (Panthers)
1 – Dylan Edwards (Panthers)

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