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The Panthers outlasted the Wests Tigers in Bathurst on Saturday afternoon to mark their return from the bye with a 22-6 win. 

While the final scoreline gives the impression of a comfortable win for the defending premiers, it was far from a walk in the park and the game sat delicately in the balance until James Fisher-Harris' try nine minutes from time. 

Exemplary ball control in the first half, which saw them complete 20 of 22 sets, was followed by a steely defensive showing in the second from the Panthers, with Dylan Edwards – who failed to finish the final minutes due to a suspected leg injury – reading things brilliantly from the back and lock Isaah Yeo churning through 47 tackles without a miss. 

Despite their own impressive defensive grit in the first half, it was two dropped bombs that ultimately meant the Wests Tigers went into the sheds down 10-6 at the break. 

Spills by Apisai Koroisau and Junior Tupou led directly to Sunia Turuva scoring his double – which gives him eight tries in his past five games – that came after Penrith stripped their opponents for numbers. 

Earlier Tupou had opened the scoring for the visitors and they'd come close to adding a second after a break down the left which ended in a penalty for Justin Olam being tackled off the ball. 

Junior Tupou Try

The ball control that was their strength through the first half threatened to be Penrith's undoing early in the second, as they coughed up possession on several occasions to put themselves under pressure. 

But after emerging unscathed through that period they eventually found their breakthrough on 64 minutes, with a try to Paul Alamoti in his club debut and a conversion from Dylan Edwards giving the hosts a 10-point advantage. 

Paul Alamoti Try

Fisher-Harris powered over with nine to play to confirm the victory, with the loss of Edwards late on being the only possible negative for Ivan Cleary's men at their adopted home away from home. 

Match Snapshot

  • The Panthers finished with an 85 percent completion rate after making just two errors in the first half. 
  • Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards was taken from the field late on with what appeared to be a leg injury, while the Wests Tigers lost winger Junior Tupou to a suspected broken foot. 
  • Wests Tigers players Isaiah Papali'i and Latu Fainu both went on report in the loss. 
  • The Panthers have now won their past 11 daytime games.
  • Panthers winger Sunia Turuva has now scored eight tries in his past five games.

Play of the Game

Days after announcing his departure from the club at the end of the season, James Fisher-Harris put the result beyond doubt with this powerful run to the line with nine to play. 

James Fisher-Harris Try

What They Said

"Really proud. I thought for 63 minutes there we played a brand of footy that we have talked about being the team we want to be. I thought we had them under pressure in terms of the back and forward field position. The last 17 minutes we forced [our own mistakes] by trying to chase points and I thought scoreboard pressure took over." – Wests Tigers coach Benji Marshall. 

Wests Tigers: Round 7

"I thought we were behind the eight ball early, obviously went behind on the scoreboard as well, and it was sort of similar in the second half as well. But both halves we kind of worked our way through that. To only concede the one try today was definitely pleasing. It wasn't our sharpest effort but I thought in terms of just hard work and grinding away, that might have been our best of the year in that sense." – Panthers coach Ivan Cleary.   

Panthers: Round 7

What's Next 

The Panthers are set to be boosted by the return of star No.7 Nathan Cleary ahead of a trip to Townsville to face the Cowboys on Saturday, while earlier that day the Wests Tigers play host the Broncos at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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