By Emma Duxbury at Sportingbet Stadium
Penrith’s VB NSW Cup side have kept their winning streak alive and remain on top of the table, after a hard fought 36-20 win over Newtown at Sportingbet Stadium on Saturday.
An hour before kick-off we got confirmation that Isaah Yeo would be backing up from rep duty, alongside Sam Anderson and Waqa Blake. Kieran Moss also made his return from injury, scoring a try and setting up another.
Newtown put the first points on the board five minutes into the match after being awarded a penalty just short of halfway. They then carried the ball up to their line and sent it right across the park, drawing Penrith’s defenders in and leaving a hole on the left side, where centre Samisoni Langi dived over to score. The conversion was waved away so the visitors took a 4-0 lead.
A few minutes later the Panthers hit back when Matt Robinson put Kieran Moss into a hole on halfway and he took off down the field, before passing to Tom Humble who carried it the rest of the way. Wes Naiqama kicked it straight through the posts to put Penrith ahead 6-4.
It was another 15 minutes before the score changed again, and it was the home side who added to their tally. Matt Robinson put a beautiful grubber kick over to the left corner where it bounced perfectly for Will Smith to run onto and ground. Naiqama converted from the sideline, extending Penrith’s lead to 12-4.
Kevin Kingston had to leave the field soon after this after copping a knock to the head.
Three minutes later the Panthers were over again after Smith broke through several tackles and took off down the sideline, before passing to Luke Capewell who steamed over the line from 10m out. Naiqama’s boot took the score to 18-4, with 13 minutes until the half time break.
In the next play, Isaah Yeo had to be helped from the field after going down in a tackle.
Seven minutes before the break Kieran Moss scored our fourth try after barging his way through some very soft Jets defence, to jog the ball over the line. Naiqama was slightly off target with the kick this time, so the score went to 22-4.
Newtown scored the next try after a questionable bounce off the shoulder of one of their players left the Panthers a little stunned, and their winger Brett Lane dived over to get the ball down. With the kick, the Jets narrowed the score to 22-10, with three minutes on the clock.
Good news for the Panthers heading into the second half with both Kevin Kingston and Isaah Yeo returning to the field.
Things got even better in the 48th minute when Tom Humble went over for his second try of the day after the ball was picked up from dummy half and sent to him a few metres out from the line, and he dived under a group of Jets defenders to score. Naiqama’s kick drifted to the left, so the home side extended their lead to 26-10.
Ten minutes later the Jets went over for their next try after forcing repeat goal line dropouts and putting the Panthers under intense pressure up their end. After driving hard at their line, Brett Lane eventually got enough momentum to push his way over in the corner. The conversion was missed though, so the score went to 26-14.
With nine minutes on the clock, Newtown crossed for another one when hooker Kurt Kara took a brilliant ball 10m out, and ran straight through a couple of Panthers defenders to plant the ball down under the posts. The kick went straight through the posts, meaning the visitors were now just six points behind.
But in the next set, flying Fijian Eto Nabuli made that gap a little bigger when he crossed in the corner after collecting a pass on the sideline and taking off down the field, beating several Jets players to the line.
Tommy Humble sealed the deal for the Penrith side when he crossed for his third try in the 77th minute, after finding a hole in Newtown’s defence and sprinting 30m to dive over the line. Will Smith took the kick this time and sent the ball straight through the posts, to give the Panthers an unbeatable 36-20 lead, with less than 30 seconds remaining.
In what is a real anomaly in this year’s draw, these two sides will do battle once again this round, this time though it will be a Jets home game, played at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Penrith Panthers 36 (T Humble 3, E Nabuli, L Capewell, W Smith, K Moss tries; W Naiqama 3, W Smith goals) def. Newtown Jets 20 (B Lane 2, S Langi, K Kara tries; S Taukeiaho 2 goals) at Sportingbet Stadium.