Enjoying a recent resurgence in his own game of late, the impact of Bryce Cartwright on the Penrith Panthers team cannot be understated. He is performing and winning games for them.
The game v Souths was no different, as everything he did turned to gold and produced the goods that led the Panthers to a 20-6 win at home against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
It was a brick wall in defence by the Panthers, as they showed a steely defensive resolve that has so far been hiding in season 2015.
Despite the Bunnies’ best efforts and a completion rate of a remarkable 93% in the first half, they were simply unable to score and find a way through the resolute defence of the Panthers.
The Bunnies had opportunities to score but failed to capitalise, because of Penrith’s defence and their own mistakes.
There were errors in the second-half and even the first, that ended their attacking momentum, and Souths just could not find a way to score until late on through Joel Reddy.
By that time, it was already too late and the icing on the cake was settled when departing hooker Apisai Koroisau kicked a penalty goal late on.
The news does not get any better for Souths after a head clash saw prop Dave Tyrrell leave the field and back-rower John Sutton suffering a possible biceps injury.
2014 was a quality year for the Panthers and whilst they have not quite reached the same heights this year, coach Ivan Cleary believes they are getting towards that sort of form once more.
“We’re starting to look like a football team again. Combinations are starting to improve and I think the confidence definitely is starting to come back,” Cleary said post-game.
“I mentioned a few weeks ago we were disjointed, that’s just how we were playing. Our play wasn’t flowing very well. It just wasn’t quite clicking. I thought we just played as a team really, that was the best thing.”
Cleary also made it clear that after some dour performances at their home ground, that the club and the players are keen to make Pepper Stadium a difficult place for opposition teams to play at.
“Our last two home games have been really disappointing. A while back now against Parramatta and then the Storm in particular,” Cleary said.
“Home is home. We’ve got some very loyal fans but they need to see some decent performances to get excited out here. Hopefully they’re a bit more excited after this one.”
Player of the Game:
3. Bryce Cartwright
2. Waqa Blake
1. Isaah Yeo
Penrith Panthers 20 (Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare, Peter Wallace, Waqa Blake tries; Apisai Koroisau 2 Goals) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 (Joel Reddy Try; Adam Reynolds Goal) at Pepper Stadium. Crowd: 14, 068. Half-time: Panthers 8-0.