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The Penrith Panthers and the New Zealand Warriors have fought out a highly entertaining 32-all draw in front of 12,677 fans at CUA Stadium in Penrith, with the home side fighting back from 32-6 down to earn a crucial point in the race for Top 8 spots.
The Warriors, playing solely for pride, were expected to be no match for the Panthers based on recent form and the Panthers followed this script early on with the opening try to centre Michael Jennings after only 7 minutes of play. From there it appeared that the ugly C word - complacency - may have set in as the Panthers switched off and allowed the Warriors to dictate terms for the remainder of the first half.
Warriors centre Joel Moon claimed a first half hat-trick as his team suddenly rediscovered the attacking spark that has deserted them too often in their 2009 campaign. A further two points from a penalty goal opened up a halftime score of 20-6 in favour of the visitors, although the Panthers pushed hard to reduce the gap with plenty of attack on the Warriors line as halftime approached.
The second half began with a hiss and a roar for the visitors with Joel Moon claiming his fourth try before Lewis Brown broke his sequence with a well-deserved try of his own. All of a sudden the visitors were up 32-6 with 30 minutes left on the clock - and from that point they seemed to switch off themselves. The Panthers began their comeback through tries to Shane Elford and Luke Walsh but it wasn