By Stewart Moses
Penrith despite being given a fright mid-way through the second half, were able to storm home late with 18 unanswered points to record a comfortable 42-22 win over their previously undefeated opponents, Wentworthville Magpies at Ringrose Park.
Penrith led 12-0 early on but Wentworthville levelled the scores on the half hour mark courtesy of two converted tries. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak scored to give the Panthers an 18-12 lead at the break.
Penrith came out of the blocks quickly in the 2nd half after a loose pass 25m out from the Panthers try line was scooped up by Watene-Zelezniak who sprinted down the left flank before passing inside to Luke Capewell to score out wide. Naiqama’s great day with the boot continued to extend Penrith’s lead to 24-22 after 46 minutes.
A dropped ball from the kick off by Matt Robinson allowed back rower Joseph Ualese to score from close range although there were suggestions the ball was grounded short of the line. A long range break down Penrith’s left fringes by Ryan Morgan whose pass to his supports was defused by Wes Naiqama gave the Magpies the impetus in the next set when Luke Kelly to produce a show and go to score from close range to bring the margin back to two at 24-22 with over 20 minutes left in the game.
Sam Anderson extended Penrith’s lead with a barnstorming try from close range next to the posts. Soon after, a Wenty raid down Penrith’s right edge broke down on halfway, with the loose ball pounced upon by Tom Eisenhuth who sent Nabuli away down the right touch line before being ankle tapped but the Fijian Flyer’s ability to offload back to Eisenhuth allowed the centre to shift the ball left before Watene-Zelezniak cut back inside for Naiqama to bag his second try of the game and with 12 minutes remaining, Penrith led 36-22.
Penrith completed the final score 42-22 when Smith scored with three minutes remaining.
The Panthers return home to Sportingbet Stadium this Saturday to take on the ladder leading Mounties while Wenty are back at Ringrose Sunday afternoon when Wyong come to town.
Penrith Panthers 42 (W Naiqama 2, E Nabuli, L Capewell, D Watene Zelezniak, S Anderson, W Smith tries; W Naiqama 7 goals) def. Wentworthville Magpies 22 (R Morgan, J Ualesi, J Paulo, L Kelly tries; L Foran 2, J Hunt goals) at Ringrose Park