Wests Tigers have gone down to the Penrith Panthers by 14 points on Sunday afternoon at Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe.
In their penultimate match of the season, Michael Maguire’s men fought hard throughout the 80 minutes, however the Panthers were too good in the end for a 30-16 triumph.
The loss was compounded with forward Alex Seyfarth coming from the field with a knee complaint — and he’ll need to go for scans to determine the extent of the injury.
With experienced players Adam Doueihi (ACL) and James Tamou (foot) out through injury, it was an opportunity for a number of younger players to step up.
Jock Madden showed plenty of positive signs as he partnered Luke Brooks in the halves, while Stefano Utoikamanu continued to impress with strong carries and a try.
Rookie hooker Jake Simpkin also had an opportunity to shine when he came on in the second half and managed to dart from dummy half to score.
It was an unusual opening to the game with a couple of props scoring the opening two tries of the match.
First it was Penrith’s Moses Leota to cross after he stormed through to collect a Nathan Cleary grubber kick that bounced off the post.
Wests Tigers youngster Utoikamanu then matched his front-row counterpart with a try of his own when he backed up Jacob Liddle after the hooker strolled through some poor defence in the middle.
Anther forward got into the try-scoring action when Tevita Pangai dragged three defenders with him to the line for his first try in Penrith colours — giving the Panthers a 12-6 lead at half-time.
The Panthers extended their lead to 12 points after the break when Jarome Luai split the defence from a Cleary pass.
The Penrith halfback had another try assist moments later when he offloaded to Viliame Kikau, who was too hard to handle as the Mountain Men gained a 24-6 advantage.
Brian To’o looked threatening all afternoon and finally scored a four-pointer when Luai linked with his winger off a scrum play.
Wests Tigers had a run of possession and Simpkin capitalised with a try from dummy-half with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Maguire’s men had back-to-back tries when Ken Maumalo scored in the corner to reduce the deficit to 14 points.
Wests Tigers will close out their season against the Canterbury -Bankstown Bulldogs next Sunday.
Penrith Panthers 30 (Leota, Luai, Pangai, Kikau, To’o tries; Cleary 5/5 tries) def. Wests Tigers 16 (Utoikamanu, Simpkin, Maumalo tries; Brooks 2/3 goals) at Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe.