Penrith Panthers get past determined Tigers outfit

Penrith Panthers half Jarome Luai

The Penrith Panthers were able to grind out a hard-fought 19-12 win against a fired up Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium.

High shots from Luke Garner and BJ Leilua putting a dampener on a nail-biting game to finish up the match.

The Panthers had the opportunity to move up to second with a win, while the Tigers needed a win to guarantee another week in the top eight.

It would be the Panthers with the first blow.

Viliame Kikau landing a huge hit to force a Tigers error just 10 seconds in.

Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai then combined to send Stephen Crichton over after just two minutes.

Cleary had his kicking boots on Saturday, sinking his first attempt for an early 6-0 lead.

The Tigers held on with some astute defense, despite the Panthers continuously attacking the goal line.

Matt Eisenhuth capitalized on the fortuitous scoreline for the Tigers, charging over from close range to score after 28 minutes.

A knock to Moses Mbye saw Adam Doueihi kicking, with the fullback sinking the first attempt to tie it at 6-6.

The Tigers piled on the pressure, with Reynolds forcing an error to scamper up field and put his side in great position.

Two plays later, a quick tap-on from Mbye sent Tommy Talau over for his third try in two weeks.

Doueihi missed his conversion attempt, with the score walking into half-time at 10-6.

It would be a repeat start for the Panthers in the second half, as a cheeky grubber kick saw Crichton dive over for his second try.

Cleary made no mistake, curling his attempt over the black dot to make it 12-10.

Twelve minutes later, a high shot from Api Koroisau on Luciano Leilua saw sparks fly.

Joey Leilua, rattled by his brother being taken off, sparked a bit of a shoving match with Koroisau as he tried to apologize.

That seemed to liven up the game, with both teams laying down some huge hits over the final twenty minutes.

Nathan Cleary kicked a field goal from 25 metres out to give Penrith a 13-12 lead with eight minutes left.

Api Koroisau then scampered through the Tigers defensive line to set up Dylan Edwards to finish the scoring for the Panthers.

Cleary finished his good night with the boot, converting for what was the 19-12 win.

The action was not done there though, with BJ Leilua sent to the sin bin for a dog shot on Dylan Edwards with two minutes left in the game.

Luke Garner then collected Edwards with the last play of the game, sparking an all in scrum that was put on report.

The win saw Penrith temporarily jump into second, with the Tigers sitting in eighth pending results this weekend.

Both teams are back at Bankwest next week, with the Tigers against the Rabbitohs while Penrith take on Cronulla.

Although Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was disappointed with certain incidents in the game, he did enjoy the physical contest.

“We want to play by the rules and I thought we handled ourselves in some fiery exchanges pretty well,” Cleary said.

“There were a couple of disappointing incidents but it was a tough game, both sides put a lot into it.”

Some costly errors by Leilua are not acceptable in Michael Maguire’s book and the Tigers coach said he will talk to his centre.

“He was emotional and he gave away penalties, you just can’t do that,” Maguire said.

“He is aware of it. He has been around long enough. He knows what he has to do. I will talk to Joey.”

NRL News Player of the Game 

3. Jarome Luai

2. Matt Eisenhuth

1. Stephen Crichton

Hulking Wests Tigers forward Matthew Eisenhuth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *