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The Penrith Panthers have joined the St George Illawarra Dragons on 26 competition points after a 12-8 victory in the fight at the top of the table in Kogarah tonight.
With both sides missing players due to Origin duties, it was Penrith that won through with one of their best performances of the season. The return of Dragons international Mark Gasnier surrounded the media headlines of the match, but it was the Panthers who were able to pounce.
Gasnier will have to shake off the errors he conceeded in the next few weeks but both sides will be entering the next stage of the competition as the best two teams after they remained level at the top of the ladder.
St George Illawarra Dragons 8 were defeated by Penrith Panthers 12
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 17 - Monday July 5, 2010 7:00pm
Venue: WIN Jubilee Oval, Kogarah
Referee: Jared Maxwell and Brett Suttor
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Grant Atkins and Daniel Eastwood
Halftime: St George Illawarra Dragons 0 Penrith Panthers 6
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (8)
Tries: Kalifa Fai-Fai Loa (2)
Conversions: Jamie Soward (0/1)
PENRITH PANTHERS (12)
Tries: David Simmons, Wade Graham
Conversions: Lachlan Coote (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Lachlan Coote (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to Monday Night Football. A match between 1st and 2nd usually has a lot more excitement than this. Of course, both sides will miss their Origin stars. The return of Mark Gasnier has highlighted this game, this should be interesting.
Toyota Cup - The Panthers beat the Dragons 34-6.
Dragons - Jeremy Smith has withdrawn injured, Michael Weyman is suspended. Trent Merrin and Nick Emmett will start, Jon Green back to the bench. Mark Gasnier comes into the side.
Panthers - Frank Puletua and Nathan Smith starts, Matthew Bell onto the bench.
3 min: Early line-drop out. Good defence from Fai Fai Loa.
11 min: Dragons starting to get the better of this game with attack.
15 min: Jamie Soward and Kyle Stanley combining for a great run.
16 min: Soward earns his side a line drop-out.
18 min: Panthers on the attack, but a Kingston forward pass ends the play.
20 min: Repeat set for Penrith...
22 min: TRY
And Penrith have come up with the first try of the night through Wade Graham. A quick play-the-ball enabled Graham to go through defenders in a dummy-half effort.
Penrith Panthers 6-0
24 min: A bad call to award Penrith the ball, but they're on the attack again.
26 min: Obstruction call goes against Penrith, denying them a try.
26 min: Mark Gasnier enters the field.
36 min: The attack of the Panthers is beginning to turn a bit sluggish, they still hold a 6-0 lead.
40 min: Dragons nearly score on the break, but Gasnier fails to take a pass. That will do for the first forty.
40 min: Second half underway!
42 min: The rain really starting to come down.
46 min: Stanley over for the Dragons, but the pass is called forward. Don't think I personally agree with that call.
51 min: Errors, refereeing calls and bad fifth play options have kept this game to just six points so far.
55 min: Despite warnings about sin binning, the Panthers are continually caught offside with no extra penalty.
58 min: Soward looking a bit lost with his last kick, Wade Graham doing well and the Panthers on the attack at the moment.
61 min: Soward picking himself up with a big break, but with a try begging Luke Priddis spills it.
63 min: Despite so much possession and momentum, the Dragons still unable to score.
64 min: They've now conceeded a penalty, Coote aiming up the kick.
64 min: PENALTY GOAL
Penrith Panthers 8-0
69 min: A mistake from Gasnier near the line and the Dragons are still scoreless.
72 min: TRY
The Dragons have scored! We've got a game on our hands!
Penrith Panthers 8-4
75 min: Just five minutes left on the clock.
76 min: TRY
The game ends! David Simmons scores and the Panthers will join the Dragons on 26 points tonight!
Penrith Panthers 12-4
79 min: TRY
Fai-Fai Loa earns himself a double, his second NRL try. Soward refuses to take an attempt at goal.
Penrith Panthers 12-8
80 min: Game over, 12-8 to Penrith.