The Penrith Panthers have returned to the Intrust Super Premiership NSW winners’ circle on the back of a 36-24 win over the Mounties, in the sides’ Round 5 clash at Aubrey Keech Reserve.
Not shaken by their Round 4 loss to Newtown, the Panthers made a blistering start to the match against the Mounties, running in three unanswered tries in quick succession to shoot out to a 14-0 lead.
Match: Mounties v Panthers
Round 5 -
Venue: Aubrey Keech Reserve
Left-edge back-rower Jack Hetherington crossed twice inside 15 minutes for an early double, before Thomas Eisenhuth powered his way to the line for the side’s third four-pointer in the 17th minute of play.
Bolstered by the inclusion of NRL regular and Queensland State of Origin representative Josh Papalii, the Mounties had added grunt in the middle third of the field – and soon hit back on the scoreboard, courtesy of fullback Brad Abbey.
Abbey collected an offload from back-rower Jack Murchie to score untouched and to see the hosts back within three converted tries.
The home side’s momentum was short-lived though, as the Panthers wrestled back the ascendency through centre Adam Keighran who went over for the visitors’ fourth first-half try.
A try to speedy Mounties outside back Mikaele Ravalawa – converted by his wing partner, Sitiveni Moceidreke – lessened the side’s deficit to 10 points, as the teams retreated to the sheds at half-time.
Mounties were unable to build upon their late effort when returning to the field of play in the second 40, and the Panthers began the second-half much the way they did the first.
A 55th-minute try to Ratu Tuisese steadied the Panthers cause, extending their margin back to 14 points.
Back-to-back tries to Mounties pair Tony Satini and Sitiveni Moceidreke breathed life back into the contest late, though the efforts were to no avail as again the Panthers found more points.
Tries to Liam Martin and Jarome Luai in the 72nd and 78th minutes killed off Mounties’ hopes, with Adam Keighran’s conversions taking the Panthers out to the eventual 36-22 scoreline.