A 28-man Wests Tigers squad has gone down 32-4 to the Penrith Panthers in wet conditions at Panthers Stadium on Saturday night in their first trial match of the 2020 season.
Ahead of their trip to New Zealand next week where the rest of the NRL squad will all feature, Michael Maguire would have been pleased in parts with the performance on Saturday night as his side defended well in slippery conditions.
Zane Musgrove was arguably the pick of the forwards after playing the better part of an hour while Luciano Leilua got through plenty of work in his two stints.
The home side would open the scoring after 15 minutes of action when Jarome Luai put Brent Naden on the outside of Tommy Talau to score out wide.
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In a tight first half with little to split the sides on the scoreboard and in the contest, Josh Reynolds and Billy Walters both looked lively in the six and nine jumpers respectively, but it was Adam Doueihi who came up with the first strong attacking contribution for Wests Tigers to send Reece Hoffman over with an excellent cut-out.
Jock Madden would fail to add the extras from the sideline in the final real attacking chance for either side in the first half as the wet conditions at Panthers Stadium continued to hamper the attacking prowess for both teams.
With changes aplenty for both sides to begin the second half, it was Penrith who settled in to their rhythm the better with tries to Tyrone May and Jack Hetherington putting the home side out in front by 12 points with half an hour still to play.
Penalties continued to prove an issue for both sides throughout the match, with the hosts using a run of possession to extend their lead soon after as Steven Crichton darted over to put the game beyond doubt with 20 minutes to play.
Naden would continue to cause havoc down the right edge of Wests Tigers, setting up a late try for J'maine Hopgood to put the icing on the cake for Penrith — who themselves head to Bega next weekend to face the Parramatta Eels — before Naden himself bagged a double in the final play of the match.
For Maguire's side, the likes of Moses Mbye, Benji Marshall, Luke Brooks and Joey Leilua are all expected to get their first taste of action for the 2020 season when Wests Tigers face the New Zealand Warriors next Saturday in Rotorua.
Penrith Panthers 32 (Naden 2, May, Hetherington, Crichton, Hopgood tries; Cartwright 4/4, Burton 0/1 goals) def. Wests Tigers 4 (Hoffman tries; Madden 0/1 goals) at Panthers Stadium