Four Pointers: Penrith Panthers 20 Sydney Roosters 16

THE EFFORT IS THERE

Sydney Roosters showed plenty of spirit in going down by four points to the Panthers on Monday night at Allianz Stadium.

It’s the fourth time this year the Bondi club have lost by under four points.

The Roosters ultimately lost the game in the opening forty with a high error count.  An example of this led to the opening try to Dallin Watene-Zelezniak just six minutes into the contest.

Just when coach Trent Robinson demanded his players to cut out the error rate at half time, NSW representative winger Daniel Tupou did the opposite in losing the ball near halfway in the Roosters first set out of the break.

The leadership of Jake Friend has been phenomenal.  If only there was a way for Friend to be part of Kevin Walters’ Queensland Origin side this year.  His stats were amazing – 67 tackles, 68 metres and three try assists.  Best on field effort in a losing side.

Sydney Roosters are probably gone for 2016 but the next few weeks with a little luck they could brush aside Dragons (ANZAC Day), Newcastle (home) and Gold Coast Titans (away), suddenly back in contention to make the eight.

WE’VE JUST SEEN TRY OF THE YEAR…

Just sit back and watch how this second try to Latrell Mitchell evolves in the 60th minute to get the Roosters back within four.  Big guns Friend, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Blake Ferguson keeping the play alive after the kick was put through.  Mitchell’s dive at the line making this a classic try worthy of replay after replay.

YOUNG GUNS SHINE ON WET NIGHT

This game might have been dominated by the forward packs of both teams with Friend and Leilani Latu having outstanding performances for their respective teams.

However, three up and coming NRL stars made their impression on the game.

Waqa Blake had a breakthrough game for the Panthers.  His try five minutes into the second half was sublime.  Receiving an offload from Isaah Yeo, Blake was in the clear having to beat Mitchell at fullback to make it to the line.  He did it with ease and gave the Panthers the match winning lead.  Blake had been outstanding in the lower grade over the last two years.  This game was his most comfortable in the top grade.

Latrell Mitchell continues to establish himself as this year’s front runner for rookie of the year after scoring two tries and making two line breaks in making 134 metres for the Roosters on a wet night.  His size and speed will see him a future representative player for New South Wales.

Te Maire Martin is still learning the ropes of the top grade but made two plays that helped the Panthers win.  Martin scored at the half hour mark, put into a gap by former Rooster Suaia Matagi.  He also pulled off an intercept with the Roosters on the attack during the second half, making it to half way before holding up the play for support to come through.  A clever play.

What a bright future the game has with these three players!

NO SUBSTITUTE FOR KICKING GAME

A key aspect of the Panthers getting over the line was the kicking game of Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace.

In the first half it was Soward applying the pressure to Sydney Roosters back three by kicking early and making the home side play their sets out from the ten metre line.  A couple of these kicks resulted in goal line dropouts.

But the control of the Panthers to force three repeat line dropouts in the final five minutes gave the Roosters no ball and forced them to run ninety metres to win the game, alas Kane Evans losing the ball after making a break near half way.

Coach Griffin praising Soward post game in saying he played the conditions really well and to the Panthers credit we backed up his kicks.

Soward possibly the best wet weather kicker in the game?

FROM THE SHEDS

Both sides had players off to the sheds for concussion tests in the first half.  Jayden Nikorima was first to leave the field inside the first five minutes of the game, followed by Leilani Latu after receiving a penalty for a crusher tackle.  Both passed the concussion tests and returned to the field.

RESULT

Sydney Roosters 16
Tries: Latrell Mitchell 2, Blake Ferguson
Goals: Jackson Hastings 2

Penrith Panthers 20
Tries: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Te Maire Martin, Waqa Blake
Goals: Jamie Soward 4

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