By Michelle Boon at Leichhardt Oval
Penrith turned in a top-notch performance, recording a devastating 40-20 win over the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
Tigers’ winger Corey Brown opened the scoring after 12 minutes, going over under the posts cleaning up a loose bomb from inside the Penrith 10m zone. Hooker Dayne Craig converted to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead.
Penrith hit back six minutes later through second rower and former Tiger Ben Murdoch-Masila slicing through the right hand centres 30m out then outpacing the cover to fall over the line out wide. Centre Wes Naiqama converted to level the match at 6-all.
With 19 minutes to go in the first half, Naiqama crossed out wide touching down on a well-weighted grubber kick from halfback Liam Ayoub and his conversion put them ahead 12-6.
Nine minutes later Penrith centre Will Smith scored out wide after he made a break through the right hand centres from a scrum 40m out from the Tigers’ line, found fullback Luke Capewell on the outside in support and he turned it back to Smith to finish off the play. Naiqama’s conversion extended the lead to 18-6.
With six minutes remaining Smith notched his double scoring under the posts after taking advantage of a turnover 30m out and the resulting disorganised defensive line to find a gap up the middle of the field 15m out and was never headed. Naiqama added the extras to have them travelling well at 24-6.
Four minutes later Penrith winger Tom Eisenhuth went over in the right hand corner, intercepting an offload 35m out from the Tigers’ line, finding space up the touchline and going over unopposed. Naiqama remained perfect with the boot to take a commanding 30-6 lead into half time.
The Panthers continued on their merry way once the second half resumed with Eisenhuth scoring his double in the right hand corner after six minutes taking advantage of an overlap close to the line. Naiqama missed the conversion and the score was 34-6.
With 19 minutes to go Tigers’ replacement Inno Inosesio scored under the posts after halfback Michael Stevens busted through tackles 10m out and found Inosesio in support on the inside who did the rest. Stevens converted to take the score to 34-12.
Six minutes later Tigers’ replacement Sonny Bristow crossed in the right hand corner after slicing through the centres 20m out and proving too strong to stop the defence from taking him over the line. Stevens failed to convert making the score 34-16.
Four minutes later the Tigers’ revival continued when second rower Brenden Santi crashed over out wide running off a neat Stevens’ pass but Stevens couldn’t convert, giving them a slim hope at 34-20.
But Penrith made sure of the win when Eisenhuth recorded his treble, going over in the right hand corner with just three minutes left in the game, after they spread it to the right where they spotted an overlap which Eisenhuth used to good effect. Naiqama nailed the conversion and at full time Penrith were deserving winners 40-20.
The Panthers return home to host the Jets this coming Saturday while the Tigers head over the harbour bridge to take on the North Sydney Bears.
Penrith Panthers 40 (T Eisenhuth 3, W Smith 2, B Murdoch-Masila, W Naiqama tries; W Naiqama 6 goals) def. Wests Tigers 20 (C Brown, I Inosesio, S Bristow, B Santi tries; D Craig, M Stevens goals) at Leichhardt Oval.