The Penrith Panthers have staged an outstanding comeback to rein in the Warriors in a 22-19 victory in today’s 16th-round Intrust Super Premiership NSW clash at Mt Smart Stadium.
The home side was seeking to give the Warriors three from three for the weekend after last night’s NRL and NYC successes over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
And the Warriors were well-placed for their 10th win of the season when a converted Bunty Afoa try had them stretching to an 18-6 lead after 55 minutes.
The Panthers, though, weren’t about to be denied in a thrilling closing stanza to the contest.
A Michael Oldfield try converted by Darren Nicholls had Penrith right back in range at 12-18 with just under 19 minutes to play.
Then in the 68th minute Jarome Luai’s touchdown and another Nicholls conversion had this one all tied up at 18-18.
The Warriors regained their composure and worked themselves into one-point territory for the ever-cool Mason Lino to oblige and give his side a 19-18 edge with five minutes to play.
They couldn’t close the match out, though, as the Panthers worked a magical match-winner through wing Mason Cerruto to leave the Vodafone Warriors stunned and forced to stomach their second consecutive defeat following a loss to Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles two weeks ago.
Penrith had opened the scoring through Wayde Egan in the 34th minute but the Warriors then strung together three unanswered tries either side of half-time.
The first came through a big break by interchange forward Chris Satae who put new signing Zac Santo over for his first try for the club in the 38th minute.
Three minutes after the break, Lino collected his own kick to score and Afoa followed a strong tackle-busting carry by turning up soon after to hit a hole for a good try.
Penrith Panthers 22 (W Egan, M Oldfield, J Luai, M Cerruto tries; D Nicholls 3 goals) def Warriors 19 (Z Santo, M Lino, B Afoa tries; M Lino 3 goals; M Lino field goal)