*PLEASE NOTE - Due to issues with the camera out at Sportingbet Stadium, only three tries were captured from this match
By Emma Duxbury at Sportingbet Stadium
The Panthers have extended their lead at the top of the VB NSW Cup table after a convincing 36-0 win over Manly at Sportingbet Stadium on Saturday.
Completing Penrith’s hat trick for the weekend, Garth Brennan’s slightly depleted side pulled together a game plan and dug deep to keep the Sea Eagles scoreless the entire game, and come away with the two points.
It was a bit of a scrappy game with plenty of mistakes and dropped balls from both teams. The Panthers crossed first in the fourth minute of play when Waqa Blake barged his way through Manly’s backline and dived over to score. Wes Naiqama converted to give Penrith a 6-0 lead.
For the next half an hour Manly put the Panthers under all kinds of pressure, forcing a few errors and never letting the home side get much further than half way. In turn, the Panthers defended extremely well and didn’t let the Sea Eagles anywhere near their end of the field.
With three minutes until the half time break, Tom Humble scored the second try of the match after breaking through several tackles on the 30 metre line and taking off down the field, eventually jogging the ball over the line. Naiqama’s kick from in front extended the home side’s lead to 12-0.
The Panthers were a little slow to start in the second half and they made a couple of mistakes, but eventually found the line again in the 57th minute, when Humble ducked and weaved his way through Manly’s defence and dived over to score his second of the day. The kick went straight through the uprights, so the score went to 18-0.
Less than five minutes later, Humble crossed for his hat trick after a grubber kick from Luke Capewell bounced off a Sea Eagles defender and back into his arms, and as everyone stood back a little stunned he dived in under the posts. Naiqama made it four from four to blow the Panthers’ lead out to 24-0.
The fifth unanswered try came courtesy of some nice footwork from Tom Eisenhuth who broke through Manly’s backline and sprinted 20 metres before offloading to Blake, who dragged several defenders over the line with him.
With five minutes left on the clock a scuffle broke out in the middle of the field and Manly’s Tyson Andrews was sin binned for punching Reagan Campbell-Gillard. In the next play, Panthers enacted the ultimate revenge when Kevin Naiqama sprinted over the line for the final try of the match.
Humble took the kick and added the extra two, giving Penrith one of their most satisfying wins of the year.
This weekend the Panthers are once again at Sportingbet Stadium on the Saturday and they will face the Bears while Manly head to Ringrose Park on Sunday to tackle the Magpies.
Penrith Panthers 36 (T Humble 3, W Blake 2, K Naiqama tries; W Naiaqama 4, T Humble 2 goals) def. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 0 at Sportingbet Stadium.