Penrith 18 dr Cowboys 18

Penrith Panthers SammutA well-disciplined Panthers side walked away with an 18-all with the Cowboys last night, putting in a commendable effort prior to season kick off and almost securing an upset win.

Even with the dynamic Matt Bowen on deck, the Cowboys couldn’t hold off the Panthers after getting away to a solid start.

Playing in front of a health 12,000 strong trial crowd, the appearance of Bowen was expected to give the Cowboys too much fire power for the previously misfiring Panthers.After a near 12 month layoff, Bowen rarely got involved early and spent the 2nd period on the bench nursing his troublesome knee.

The Cowboys came out strong, touching down twice inside the first quarter. Veteran winger Ty Williams and rookie Scott Bolton scoring and skipper Jonathan Thurston adding the extras.

Bolton was impressive, managing to dive over the line again shortly after – only to be held up by scrambling Penrith defence.

Panthers speed demon Michael Jennings remains their great hope in 2009, possibly the fastest player over 15 metres – this guy has blinding acceleration. Jennings was the man to get Penrith going last night, chasing down a Sammut kick to get his side on the scoreboard.

In the 2nd half, new half Jarrod Sammut continues his resurgence – proving elusive with the ball and stepping through the Cowboys on several occasions to make the 40 minutes his own. Sammut rewarded for his efforts with a touchdown early into the 2nd term.

The Penrith side looked set to upset the fancied Cowboys with 10 minutes to go, reliable backrower Nathan Smith ambling over for a try that looked like sealer.

But the Cowboys scored a late equaliser through Clint Amos to give them a shot in the arm before season start.

Round 1 of the NRL sees the Nth Queensland Cowboys playing the Broncos in Brisbane while Penrith are away to the Sharks.

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