The Jets have moved to within a point of the Intrust Super Premiership top four after coming from behind with a late converted try to Fa’amanu Brown to secure a 12-10 win over the Panthers in front of a large crowd at Henson Park today.
The Panthers may have welcomed back from injury Te Maire Martin but he was upstaged by the Jets’ two-try hero Brown who was a late inclusion for the Jets.
In what was a dour struggle for two vital competition points, it was definitely a tale of two halves for both sides as an error-riddled Penrith allowed Newtown’s halves Brown with his running game complimented by the astute kicking game of Josh Cleeland allowing the home side to lead 6-0 at the main break.
But the second half saw the Panthers come to life scoring two back-to-back tries on the back of some poor completions form the home side, before the Jets regained their composure to score late though Brown again.
The Panthers came out of the blocks early in the game showing plenty of purpose with Martin’s kicking game forcing the Jets into defending several sets on the try line.
But errors crept into the Panthers game, allowing Cleeland the chance to apply pressure on the away team also earning several repeat sets through his pin-point kicking game.
As good as the Panthers defended their line in the opening half hour, the mountain of possession in favour of the home team eventually allowed Brown, who already was causing Penrith all sorts of problems with his incisive running, stepped though the line to score from close range in the 30th minute and with Kurt Capewell’s conversion, the Jets led 6-0.
Despite continuing to dominate possession on the back of Penrith’s errors, the Jets went into halftime leading by that six-point margin.
The second half was only four minutes old when a Newtown error on their own 40m line enabled the Panthers to spread play left from the scrum win, putting Josh Hall in the clear to score in the left corner, to trail by two.
Play continued to ebb and flow as the errors continued to mount for the home side, which Penrith took advantage of to take the lead with fifteen minutes when Hall batted back Martin’s cross field kick, into the waiting arms of George Jennings to score in the left corner and the level the scores.
Hall, the competition’s leading scorer, kicked the goal from the side-line to bring up 50 goals for the season to give Penrith a slender 10-8 lead.
But it was not to be for the Panthers, when with just six minutes remaining, that man Brown scored the match-winner after again stepping at the line before burrowing though two Penrith defenders to ground the ball and with Capewell’s simple conversion, the Jets went on to secure a precious 12-10 win that sees go just a point behind Wests Tigers in the race for the top four.
Next Saturday, Newtown travel to Newcastle while Penrith will host the Wests Tigers as the race for the top eight heats up over the closing rounds.