Wests Tigers Intrust Super Premiership side have gone down 42-24 in a back-and-forth encounter to the Penrith Panthers in their Round 13 clash on Saturday.
Trailing 12-0 early in the match, Wests Tigers would fight back to take the lead just before half-time. However, in wet and miserable conditions at Leichhardt Oval, the Panthers would prove too good in the second half and emerged with an 18-point victory.
Penrith would begin the match in ideal fashion when an error from Wests Tigers off the kickoff would gift them ideal field position to post first points. And after testing the home side’s edge defence in wet conditions, it would be prop forward Moses Leota who crashed through the line to score under the posts and give the home side an early lead.
Struggling to get into their rhythm early in the match, Wests Tigers would fall even further behind in the 17th minute when a grubber in to the in-goal saw Tyrone May flying through to touch down under the posts. Josh Hall again made no mistake with the conversion from in front to give the visitors a 12-0 lead after the first quarter of play.
Wests Tigers would eventually get on the board after 21 minutes when a cross-field kick from Jack Littlejohn saw Jayden Wheelhouse fly high above the back to plant it down.
Jordan Rankin converted from out wide to cut the visitors’ lead to 12-6.
Some sharp work in the following set would see Wheelhouse grab his second, as Chance Peni got on the outside of his man to put the winger away down the sideline. Rankin was unable to convert from out wide, however, leaving the scoreline at 12-10.
Penrith would look to extend their lead shortly after with a number of sets on the home side’s line, but Wests Tigers would hold firm and soon take the lead after 31 minutes.
Again, the kick off the back of a cross-field kick from Littlejohn, with Justin Hunt taking the bomb superbly in his stride before offloading to Heleta close to the line to score.
Rankin slotted the conversion from out on the left edge to give his side a 16-12 lead.
As half-time approached, Penrith would re-take the lead through Brendon Attwood after some sharp work from Sione Katoa close to the line, with Hall converting to give his side a slender 18-16 lead at the break as the rain continued to pour down at Leichhardt Oval.
After scoring two tries in the first half, Wheelhouse would see a horror start to the second half, as an error on the kick return saw Hall race away to score a simple try, before another error not only saw the winger suffer a serious concussion trying to take the kick, but also saw Leota grab his second try of the game off a short ball from Katoa.
Hall’s perfect day with the boot saw the Panthers lead 30-16 after 55 minutes.
A deft kick from Littlejohn in to the in-goal saw Esan Marsters grab his first Intrust Super Premiership try and cut the visitors’ lead to 30-30 after 60 minutes, but the second half would belong to the Panthers, who continued to show their attacking class.
Will Smith crossed in the 68th minute despite a hint of obstruction from two decoy runners, before Hall continued his magical afternoon with a superb take in his own in-goal before offloading for George Jennings to run the length of the field and score.
The winger converted both tries to give his side a 42-20 lead after 70 minutes of play.
Peni would grab a consolation try in the dying moments of the match off a superb cut-out ball from Rankin, but it would be too little too late for the home side as Penrith cruised to a 42-24 victory and made it back-to-back losses for Paul Stringer’s side.
FULL TIME — Penrith Panthers 42 (Leota 2, May, Attwood, Hall, Smith, Jennings tries; Hall 7/7 goals) def. Wests Tigers 24 (Wheelhouse 2, Heleta, Marsters, Peni tries; Rankin 2/5 goals)