Panthers lose to Souths, Eels

David Kidwell Souths 2009Penrith Panthers fans would be having nightmares at the foot of the mountains, with their team losing both trial matches on Saturday night; made worse by the fact their former fullback Rhys Wesser starred for Souths in the 38-4 win.

Souths turned on the after burners, putting on 9 tries in torrid conditions to instill some confidence in themselves for 2009.

Penrith only crossing the line once, their night unique – in that they played 2 trial games using around 51 players in total across the state.

The Bunnies dominated most of the match, rarely looking troubled by the Panthers – with ever improving back Fetuli Talanoa grabbing a double.

Another of the new recruits at Redfern, Colin Best, played well – grabbing a try and looking to have kept his good 2008 form in-tact. The remaining Souths tries going to Issac Luke, Jamie Simpson, John Sutton, Shannon McPherson and Shaun Corrigan.

South Sydney named a quality side, only major stars Roy Asotasi and Craig Wing not taking part, however the cohesion was impressive for the Bunnies – with pivot John Sutton and half Chris Sandow combining well and setting the pace for the game all night.

Coach Matt Elliott will need to spend plenty of time in front of the video tape as it was impossible for the under pressure coach to view both games on the same night.

The Panthers didn’t fare much better in their other trial game against Parramatta in Griffith, copping another defeat 34-12.

Panthers coach Matt Elliott said he remained happy with both showings, saying that his sides were both understrength and he will roll out his big guns next weekend as the Panthers take on the Eels again, this time at Penrith.

“They had close to their best team and we had guys who had never had first-grade experience” Elliott said.

“It was not a disappointing performance by any stretch, but it was good to learn lessons for an individual level.

“Their guys were rolling forward and werent … their halves were good and our guys never had an opportunity.”

In Griffith, the Eels came out strong – jumping out to a 20 nil lead at the half time break.

The Eels unleashing new ex-Manly recruit Jeff Robson who performed well in the halves linking well pivot Kris Keating – both players getting 4 pointers in the match.

Fringe Eels forward Todd Lowrie was solid, getting himself a try in the first 40 miuntes, as did rookie front rower Tim Mannah.

The Eels seemingly relaxed in the final 2 terms, only outscoring the Panthers 14-12 in that period.

Other rookies to bag tries for the Parramatta side were Greg Nichols, Nathan Gardner and Jeremy Latimore and Panthers rookie Luke Clydesdale got the Panthers on the board with a 3rd term try.

Tim Glasby getting another for Penrith in the final quarter.

Like Wayne Bennett said of the Dragons, Eels boss Daniel Anderson was mostly happy that no injuries occurred in the match.

“We looked threatening every time we had the ball, especially when we built a bit of pressure.

Anderson has confirmed through the week, he feels the Eels side has enough talent to play ‘pretty football’ and says he would like to bring in an expansive style at Parramatta in 2009.

Anderson also said he was happy with the Eels defence, Parramatta defending stoutly for several sets in succession right on their line.

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