James Segeyaro

Injuries have hit them hard in recent times and that can often result in a side falling apart but out at Penrith, the Panthers have made sure that they are not in that boat.

Instead, their performances remain steady and they continue to win the games they are required to, with their most recent victory a 16-4 win over a lacklustre St George Illawarra Dragons side.

It was an interesting occasion for former Dragon now Panther Jamie Soward, who made his return to WIN Stadium for the first time since departing the Dragons mid-season in 2013 for the team out West.

The game also saw Brett Morris score his ninth of the season and collectively, he and brother Josh have now scored 196 tries between them.

Such a feat surpassed the great Mortimer trio but despite that early try, it was all Penrith after that, as the Dragons struggled to make the most of their opportunities.

One man who stood up and made his mark on an already impressive season was James Segeyaro. Scoring a try and setting one up, Segeyaro is fast becoming not only a Panthers fan favourite but one of the most dangerous players in the league.

On top of the Dragons loss, prop Dan Hunt was put on report for a high tackle on David Simmons that saw the Penrith winger leave the field with concussion.

Despite their injuries, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary was pleased with his side’s performance and believes the players know the style well.

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“I think we understand the style of play with the attack and defence and today, you could see that,” said Cleary.

“That’s always a good sign when everyone’s on the same page.”

With their injuries, depth is always crucial and Cleary was quick to praise the efforts of his Holden Cup and NSW Cup coaches, as well as the players that have made the step into first-grade.

“Full credit to Garth Brennan and Trent Barrett. Those boys have done a great job,” said Cleary.

“We have got a bit of depth at the club and so that definitely helps. To bring in three good first-graders back into the side today, so when you have injury hurdles like we have, the bonus is that those guys get an opportunity.”

For Dragons coach Paul McGregor, the reason for the loss was simple. They were beaten by a quality top 4 side.

“They’re [Penrith] a real competent side and they kept things simple,” said McGregor.

“They worked us over and won field position and once they did that, they strangled us. We just didn’t play with enough composure.”

Although he praised his side’s defence, forcing it in attack was the downfall for McGregor.

“We defended well but when we got our opportunities, we just seemed to push the pass too much,” said McGregor.

“That’s what we need to look at this week and what we need to fix.”

Penrith Panthers 16 (Segeyaro, Docker, Idris tries; Soward 2 goals) def St George-Illawarra Dragons 4 (Morris try). Crowd: 13,107.

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