Uptempo Panthers beat Wests 42-22

NRL Round 4 Panthers 2009They opened the game with a bang, nearly scoring inside 60 seconds and from there the Panthers never looked back as they iced an inconsistent and ill-disciplined Wests Tigers outfit to the tune of 42-22

After beating Manly last Monday night, the short week turnaround didn’t seem to have an effect on the Penrith side – their new halves combination not only giving them creativity, but enabling them to score a massive 42 points.

Defence was a dirty word for both sides, as each did their best impressions of ‘turn styles’ at various times throughout the match.

For the Wests Tigers, they looked like pulling off a miracle at times and certainly with 15 minutes to go and the Panthers tiring fast, the momentum with Wests looked like it might be enough.

But loose carries and silly penalties given away cost them dearly, it seems this Wests Tigers side is either brilliant or hopelessly bad – they can’t seem to ‘ grind ‘ out a win.

Losing fullback Tim Moltzen early was’t ideal after he dislocated an elbow in the first minute and from then it was really only Robbie Farah who threatened the opponents.

Luke Lewis was a key man for the Panthers tonight, the sometimes maligned former outside back turned in a tradesman like performance, grabbing an early try for his side and suring up the middle corridor in defence.

Trent Waterhouse seems to have captured some vintage form, the big backrower is playing good footy and seems to be enjoying himself once more.

Of course it’s always better, or easier to enjoy things when your winning. And the Panthers were showing plenty of passion tonight, something just as important as playing well – the hunger, the desire and it was there.

In saying that, it was interesting to see Wade Graham ’emotionless’ on the bench in the early minutes. The promising half not celebrating at all when his teammates crashed over for their first try.

Penrith were going so good early on, they were beating the clock when Jarrod Sammut flew throuhg the air to catch a pinpoint Lewis chip for a 12-0 lead, Wests immediately chasing their tails.

The Tigers side seem to be a poor ‘chasing’ side, when points are scored against them and they get behind on the scoreboard early it seems to affect their mindset and style much more than other teams.

Keith Galloway deserves an honourable mention for Wests, the big forward they call ‘Sauce’ is proving to be a massive metre eater. He has been very consistent for over a year now and he surely deserves a bolter spot in Origin.

Trailling 22-12 at halftime, the Tigers needed to get a 4 pointer early on in the 2nd term, and it looked like they had when Dene Halatau went over after a few minutes – but things were pulled up for a forward pass from Todd Payten in the lead-up.

Farah was again instrumental in several tries, creating the space for both Hanbury and Taniela Tuiaki, the giant winger with the golden teeth put the fear of god into Lachlan Coote – running over the young fullback like a Mack Truck hitting a possum on the road.

The Tuiaki try giving the Tigers a late shot to steal the game, however Benji Marshall couldn’t make the kick – leaving the deadlock score of 22-22.

But in the final 10 minutes things were into overdrive for the Panthers, they slotted a penalty to give themselves a 2 point lead – but the momentum shift that came their way was taken with both hands.

In the blink of an eye – they had scored three tries. It was a crushing blow to the Tigers who had their chance, albeit undeservedly to steal the game but the Panthers just went into another gear and blew them away.

The win sees the Panthers shoot up the NRL Ladder and the Tigers now licking their wounds, with the loss seriously affecting their points difference.

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