Wests Tigers have gone down to a determined Penrith Panthers side this evening, with the home side running out comfortable 16-2 winners at Panthers Stadium.
In a game punctuated by runs of penalties for both teams that saw two sin-binning incidents, Penrith proved too strong in the grind in the end as they cemented second spot on the competition ladder.
An early penalty goal to Esan Marsters after just seven minutes had the away side on top, and the visitors threatened to cause more problems for the Panthers with a string of penalties going their way.
However, despite repeated warnings from referee Ben Cummins, the Panthers avoided going down to 12 men and soon levelled the match at 2-2 with a straightforward penalty goal from James Maloney.
Wests Tigers would eventually get their man advantage with Trent Merrin sent to the sin bin for repeat infringements, but it wouldn't help their cause in attack, with the Panthers forcing a turnover and working it downfield to eventually cross for the first try of the night through Tyrone Peachey.
Maloney made no mistake from in front, taking the hosts' lead to 8-2 after 25 minutes of play.
It would get tougher for Wests Tigers when a break from Viliame Kikau put the visitors on the back foot; Penrith spinning the ball wide and allowing Tyrone Peachey to acrobatically dive over in the corner.
Maloney was unable to convert from the sideline, however, leaving the score at 12-2, which is how it would read at half-time as Wests Tigers continued to spurn good attacking chances on the Penrith line.
As errors and penalties continued to hurt the Wests Tigers, Penrith would continue to assert their dominance and were unlucky not to extend their lead soon in to the second half as Kikau and Christian Crichton both crossed the line — only for both to be overturned by the Bunker upon review.
A 7-0 penalty count in favour of the home side would culminate in Alex Twal sent to the sin-bin, and Maloney extending the Panthers lead beyond two converted tries as the second half wore on.
Wests Tigers would try to claw their way back in to the match, but it simply wasn't happening for the visitors, who finished the second half at a less than 60% completion rate and a tough 16-2 defeat.
Penrith Panthers 16 (Peachey, Phillips tries; Maloney 4/5 goals) def. Wests Tigers 2 (Marsters goal)