The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The Penrith Panthers struck early when a Luke Lewis grubber was dived on by the Panthers hooker Luke Priddis. The Tigers start to the match got worse soon after when Darren Senter was sidelined for the rest of the match with a hamstring problem.
Despite the poor start the Tigers hit back quickly when a great short ball from Wilson sent a charging Mark O?Neill through the defensive line and past Wesser to score.
The Panthers took control of the scoring from that moment on. A Campbell banana kick found Howland who scored the first of his two tries.
Then with halftime nearing Gower and Wesser scored two great individual tries. Gower sliced through the sliding Tigers defensive line and Wesser used just pure pace to beat the fullback and score.
At halftime the Panthers would?ve been very comfortable with a handy lead.
The second half was to prove a dour one. Both teams had plenty of opportunities but couldn?t capitalise them partly through good defence and partly through their own errors.
The Tigers built up pressure several times in the second half but couldn?t break the Panthers line. Their attacking abilities will continue to be questioned and there seems no light at the end of the tunnel with Buettner not having a particularly good game at halfback.
Just when the second half looked like remaining scoreless the Panthers snuck in one last try on the stroke of fulltime. In the end it took a Gower grubber to catch out the Tigers. Sattler picked up the grubber and sent it onto the flying Brett Howland who scored his second try of the match.
The result shows two teams at different ends of the scale. The Panthers have now won 6 in a row equalling their clubs record. With a home match against the Warriors next week they are a very good chance of breaking it. On the other hand the Tigers have lost 6 in a row and have equalled the joint ventures record. Things don?t get any better for Wests as they take on the Bulldogs next week at the Showgrounds.
Leagueunlimited?s Player of the Year Points: 3 ? P Campbell (Panthers) 2 ? J Skandalis (Tigers) 1 ? L Priddis (Panthers)
Scorers: TIGERS 4 Tries: O'Neill Goals: Covell 0/1 PANTHERS 26 Tries: Priddis, Howland x2, Gower, Wesser Goals: Campbell 3/5
By the clock:
0 min: A minutes silece for the late Alan McMahon and Kickoff!
4th min: TRY - Panthers. A Campbell ball found Luke Lewis who stepped his way through the defence and put a kick into the in-goal which was dived upon by Luke Priddis. Preston Campbell is successful with the conversion - Panthers 6-0.
8th min: NEWS - Darren Senter is out for the rest of the game with hamstring problems. Bad luck for the Tigers who are on the back foot early on and look to be struggling.
13th min: TRY - Tigers. Wilson gives a beautiful short ball to Mark O'Neill who ran a great angle through the gap and past Wesser to score for the Tigers. Covell is unsuccessful with the conversion - Panthers 6-4.
22nd min: NEWS - The Tigers have really worked their way back into the match as the Panthers have given away penalities and make mistakes.
24th min: TRY - Panthers. A great banana kick off the side of Preston Campbells boot found Brett Howland who stepped inside a Tigers defender and scored. Campbell is unsuccessful with the conversion - Panthers 10-4.
33rd min: NEWS - The Panthers hang on to their lead but the Tigers have had plenty of chances. Fitzhenry bombed an almost certain try for them.
36th min: TRY - Panthers. Gower went straight through the sliding Tigers defensive line to score. Campbell is successful with the conversion - Panthers 16-4.
40th min: TRY - Panthers. Rhys Wesser scores a brilliant individual try showing great pace and brushing off the fullback. Campbell is unsuccessful with the conversion - Panthers 20-4.
Halftime: The Panthers have put on the last three tries to take a very handy lead into the break. Handling errors have hurt the Tigers and they'll have to really lift their game to get back into this one. Halftime score - Panthers 20-4.
Halftime Statistics: The Tigers have completed 14 of 19 sets and the Panthers have completed 19 of 21 sets. The Tigers have made 168 tackles compare to the Panthers who have made 94. The Tigers have missed 18 tackles and the Panthers have missed 15. The Tigers have made 87 hitups compared to the Panthers who have made 87. The Tigers have made 5 handling errors compared to the Panthers who have made 2. The top tacklers for the Tigers are John Skandalis and Laffranchi who have both made 21. The top tackler for Penrith is Preston Campbell who has made 12. John Skandalis has made the most hitups for the Tigers with 8 and Luke Rooney and Joe Galuvao have both made 8 for the Panthers.
41st min: The second half has started!
49th min: NEWS - No addition to the score yet in the second half. Both teams have had their chances.
50th min: NO TRY DECISION - The video ref took a long time on an easy decision. Rooney attempted to ground a loose ball in the in goal but was dead and failed to ground the ball.
57th min: NEWS - Still no change to the score. A few mistakes setting in for both sides. The Tigers had built some pressure but blew it being penalised on attack for an incorrect play the ball.
64th min: NEWS - The Tigers are giving the Panthers plenty of opportunities to increase their lead. The Tigers have had conceeded 6 line drop outs and have had only 40% of the possession so far in this game.
71st min: NEWS - The Tigers turn the ball over again after building up alot of pressure through repeat sets. The Tigers have just had poor execution in this second half proving they still have serious problems on attack.
74th min: NO TRY DECISION - The video referee gets another easy one as Lewis and Galuvao clearly knocked on contesting a high ball. It looks like this second half is destined to remain scoreless.
79th min: TRY - Panthers. Gower put through a grubber which was picked up by Sattler who passed it onto the flying Howland to score. Campbell is successful with the conversion - Panthers 26-4.
Fulltime: The Panthers have held strong in the second half and beaten an average Tigers side. The win to the Panthers is their 6th in a row and its the 6th loss in a row for the tigers. Final score - Panthers 26-4.