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A solid performance by the Dragons at Penrith Stadium in front of 16,184 patrons was good enough for them to come away with the win over the Panthers by 28-8.
Both sides had a lot of frontline players out with injuries. With Barrett back in the side the difference from last week's loss to the Cowboys was noticeable as the Dragons side was very patient and composed for most of the first half, only to let loose in the second.
With the score after 40 minutes only 4-0 in favour of the Dragons, the young Panthers had done well to keep the score so low. However the patience of the Dragons side had shown through and the floodgates opened up for them in the second half.
The Panthers spirit was never broken but the Dragons tails were up and they played some exciting football. A late try to the Panthers was small consolation in a game that was always going to be tough with injuries playing a major role.
Penrith Football Stadium Crowd: 16,184 Referee: Paul Simpkins Video Referee: Stephen Clark. Touch Judges: Pat Reynolds, Paul Kalina Scorers: PANTHERS 8 Tries: Clayton 2 Goals: Roberts 0/2 defeated by DRAGONS 28 Tries: Howell, Simmonds, Cooper, Withers, Henderson Goals: Riddell 0/1, Head 4/4
By the clock:
Barrett back into the Dragons side, 6 of their top line players out. The Panthers short on fire power tonight at Penrith Stadium
0 min: Kick off!
3rd min: TRY - Howell for Dragons. A mistake from the Panthers to set up the Dragons attack 30 metres out. The perfect cut-out pass by Barrett puts Howell beautifully into the corner. Riddell misses the conversion. Dragons 4-0
8th min: NEWS - Two or three mistakes by the Penrith second rowers giving up possession. The Dragons settling into the game well.
9th min: NEWS - Head (Dragons) makes a 50 metre bust to get to the 20 metre line, offloads to a flying Hornby who is tackled on the fifth just before the tryline
14th min: NEWS - Back to back penalties for the Dragons and play is suddenly 20 metres from their line once again. Fifth tackle option for Head to grubber and he is smothered by Puletua. The Panthers defence holding well. Dragons 4-0
15th min: NEWS - Howland (Panthers) making a desperation tackle cops a knee on the temple and leaves the field, McLean to cover. The Dragons on fire tonight
21st min: NEWS - Howell (Dragons) fumbles a line dropout kick on the 40 metre mark and it goes over the sideline giving the Panthers the scrum and the Penrith crowd something to cheer about. Dragons still lead 4-0
27th min: NEWS - The Panthers starting to gather possession at last in the game. The Dragons scrambling defence holding when necessary. Galuvao (Panthers) off to the dressing room with an ankle injury.
30th min: NEWS - Whatuira (Panthers) very close to scoring. The replay shows he grounded the ball just short, and the video ref agrees. Scrum to the Dragons, 4-0 still the score
32nd min: NEWS - Penalty to the Dragons right on front, the choice is made to run the ball. The fifth tackle chip by Barrett hits the post and bounces into the arms of Roberts who's off down the field
36th min: NEWS - Very good defence by the Dragons to hold out the surging Panthers attack. End result, a line dropout to the Panthers however the Dragons holding good.
38th min: NEWS - The defence of the Dragons very patient frustrating the Panthers attack. Dragons hold their lead of 4-0
39th min: NO TRY - for Dragons. Great attack by the Dragons who looked to have scored. The video ref claims Coopers touched the ball from the kick, effecting a knock on. Howland (Panthers) returns to the bench with the okay from the doctor
HALFTIME STATS: Penalties: Panthers 4 - Dragons 3 Completions: Panthers 19/25 - Dragons 17/25 Missed tackles: Panthers 14 - Dragons 1 Offloads: Panthers 1 - Dragons 2 Errors: Panthers 6 - Dragons 9 Tackles: Panthers 161 - Dragons 187 Hitups: Panthers 94 - Dragons 85
41st min: Second half underway, Howland back on the field for the Panthers, Galuvao on the bench
43rd min: TRY - Simmonds for Dragons. A high kick on the fifth tackle is tapped back. The Dragons finally get the ball out wide to Simmonds who scoops the ball off the ground to score. Head from right on the sideline, pops the ball over for the conversion. Dragons 10-0
47th min: NEWS - Clayton (Panthers) stops a certain try after raking the ball out from the Dragons attack. Sims (Dragons) looking dangerous on attack
51st min: Cooper (Dragons) splits the defence out wide and runs a good 50 metres. The Dragons unable to finish off the move with a try, but forcing errors when the Panthers have possession setting up good field position
53rd min: TRY - Cooper for Dragons. Great team work between Barrett, Young and Cooper to hassle the Panthers defence for the try. Head with another tough kick, slots it over nicely. Dragons 16-0
57th min: TRY - Clayton for Panthers. The video ref is used as it looks as though Clayton (Panthers) had scored in the corner. A determined tackle by Hornby who has his hand under the ball was not quite enough to stop the 4 points. Roberts from the sideline, just shaves the upright with the conversion. Dragons 16-4
63rd min: TRY - Withers for Dragons. Great team work by the Dragons to get the ball quickly up the field for Withers to touch down Head's little chip just before the dead ball line. Heads gets another conversion. Dragons 22-4
70th min: NEWS - The Dragons playing very exciting football. Head regathers a chip on the fifth tackle only to flick it back. It's then scooped up passed around a few players resulting in a line dropout for the Dragons. Barrett (Dragons) is off the field
72nd min: NEWS - Once again Penrith are asked to defend their line as an attempted intercept is knocked on. Cooper knocks the ball on as he comes in at speed for the line. Dragons 22-4
76th min: TRY - Henderson for Dragons. After the Panthers were looking to score, Creagh grabs the intercept but seems to pull up allowing Roberts to tackle in 60 metres down the field. Two more plays and Henderson is over for the try. Head adds the extras. Dragons 28-4
80th min: TRY - Clayton for Panthers. Never giving up, the Panthers side are rewarded with the final try as Clayton gets a double. Roberts misses the conversion from the sideline. Dragons 28-8
FULLTIME: Well done the Dragons. Final score 28-8
FULLTIME STATS: Penalties: Panthers 9 - Dragons 4 Completions: Panthers 31/44 - Dragons 33/46 Missed tackles: Panthers 29 - Dragons 9 Offloads: Panthers 4 - Dragons 9 Errors: Panthers 15 - Dragons 14 Tackles: Panthers 303 - Dragons 290 Hitups: Panthers 156 - Dragons 177 Possession: Dragons 53%
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Cooper (Dragons) 2 - M Head (Dragons) 1 - D Young (Dragons) -----------------------------------------