The Balmain Tigers have successfully defended their SG Ball Premiership with a grinding 14-6 victory over the Penrith Panthers at St Marys League’s Stadium.
The Tigers made the most of the little opportunities both defensive lines gave up throughout a torrid 70 minutes of Rugby League.
Balmain’s first try came in the 22nd minute from a deft offload from Tigers five-eighth Rhys Armstrong to a bullocking Peter Ta’auso who crashed over under the posts. Jeremy Marshall-King easily converted and the Tigers lead 6-0.
Both sides threw everything at each other in the latter stages of the first half but the defensive lines held strong and the Tigers took the six point advantage into half time.
The strong defence which dominated the first half carried over into the second stanza with Marshall-King breaking the stalemate with a penalty goal from a ruck penalty against the Panthers.
The Panthers seemed to go into their shell somewhat and the Tigers made them pay just a few minutes later when Jayden Wheelhouse leapt above the pack to collect a Marshall-King cross field kick to score in the north-western corner.
Just when the Tigers looked on top, the Panthers sprung to life and scored a fortuitous try courtesy of their captain, Sione Utia-Katoa, and with 10 minutes on the clock, we were back to a GAME ON situation.
Another penalty for a ruck infringement killed the Panthers as Marshall-King coolly slotted his second penalty to give the Tigers a hard fought win in front of a massive crowd at St Marys.
The Tigers will now defend their National Title against the Redcliffe Dolphins at North Sydney Oval next Sunday with kick-off scheduled for 1.00pm.
Balmain Tigers 14 (P Taauso, J Wheelhouse Tries; J Marshall-King 3 Goals) def. Penrith Panthers 6 (S Utia-Katoa Try; T May Goal)