A defensive master class by the Mounties set them up for a convincing 30-18 win over the Panthers. In winning the Mounties stay on top of the Intrust Super Premiership ladder.
The Mounties made one late change to the team, with Michael Morris coming onto the bench.
The match couldn’t have started in worse fashion for the Mounties, with their kick-off going out on the full. A hefty attacking raid by the Panthers was repelled by the Mounties, despite the Panthers having three consecutive sets at the Mounties line.
It wasn’t until the 22nd minute that the scoring deadlock was finally broken. Mitch Barnett continued his tremendous start to the season by breaking up the middle of the field. Jarrad Kennedy was in the right place at the right time to finish off Barnett’s work for the first try of the game. Maurice Kennedy converted the try to give the Mounties a 6-0 lead.
Only moments later a brilliant grubber kick by Zac Santo was just swatted away by the Panthers defence before prolific try scorer Kato Ottio could pounce. On the resulting Panthers line drop out, the Mounties spread it to the left and Eddie Aiono found clear space between himself and the try line. Maurice Kennedy nailed the conversion from the sideline.
Late in the second half the Mounties received a perfect attacking opportunity off a Panthers error. Glen Butriss, moved to hooker after injury to Adam Clydsdale, showed his experience in catching the Panthers napping with only seconds remaining in the half. Maurice Kennedy converted the try to give the Mounties a valuable 18-0 lead at half-time.
Once play resumed the Mounties went back on the attack. A kick aimed for the outstretched arms of Kato Ottio was intercepted by his opposing winger, Josh Hall. Despite the valiant efforts of Jarrad Kennedy in chasing, Hall went 90 metres untouched to get the Panthers first. Hall converted his own try to cut the Mounties lead to 12.
Jarrad Kennedy showed no signs of tiredness after the big chase, as he found himself in the perfect position for a Brenko Lee offload close to the line. The Panthers fullback had no chance of stopping the big man as he closed in on the line. Maurice Kennedy continued his fine form with the boot to extend the Mounties lead back to 18.
It was only a matter of time until Kato Ottio found himself extending his lead as the top try scorer in the ISP, and in the 55th another superb pass by Brenko Lee set Kato up for an easy score in the corner.
A penalty to the Mounties infront of the posts saw Buttriss elect to go for the two. Maurice Kennedy duly slotted the kick to extend the Mounties lead.
While the Mounties try line defence was impenetrable, the Panthers found a way to score from long range again. Harawira-Naera intercepted a Lachlan Croker pass to go 80 metres to score. With Hall converting the try the Panthers had a flicker of hope down 30-12.
The Panthers did manage to score one last try, however it was too little too late as the Mounties took the win 30-18.
The victory was soured by an injury to hooker Adam Clydsdale, who left the field with a right ankle injury after being caught in an awkward tackle 15 minutes into the game. Glen Buttriss also left the field late in the game with a hand injury.
Mounties 30 (J Kennedy 2, Aiono, Buttriss, Ottio, Maurice Kennedy 4/5, 1/1 Pen) defeated Panthers 18 (Hall, Harawira-Naera, Watene-Zelezniak, Hall 3/3)