The Penrith Panthers have defeated the St George Illawarra Dragons for the second time in five weeks, the Panthers scored 25 points to the Dragons' 10 at Centrebet Stadium in front 6,721 crowd.
After taking the lead late in the first half, the Panthers looked convincing in second as they earned their way back into the top eight.
The Dragons drew first blood early, with Jack de Bellin muscling his way over in only the eighth minute of the match to open the up scoring. Josh Dugan- who was instrumental in the lead up to the try- added the extras.
But an inspired performance from Dugan was not enough for the Dragons, the Panthers hit back in the 24th minute before taking the lead in the final minute of the half with a Luke Walsh field goal.
The Panthers looked in complete control in the second 40 with Brad Tighe scoring off a Walsh grubber in the 49th minute. Walsh added the extras to stretch the Panthers' lead to seven.
The result looked in doubt in the 69th minute when some Dugan brilliance saw Chase Stanley score. A dropped ball saw the Dragons back on the attack minutes later, but a strong tackle from Luke Walsh saw the ball come loose and the Panthers off the hook.
James Roberts showed off his speed in the 77th minute when he beat everyone to the ball to score. The try came courtesy of some strong runs from firebrand forward Mose Masoe.
It was another firebrand forward who started off the next Panthers' try, prop Nigel Plum picked up the pieces after a dropped ball from Chase Stanley. Plum offloaded the ball to James Segeyaro who raced 60 metres to score in the final minute of the match. Walsh converted the try as the full-time siren sounded.
The Panthers will have a tougher challenge next week as they travel to the Gold Coast to take on the Titans. As for the Dragons, their challenge also does not get any easier next week when they host the third placed Sydney Roosters.
Penrith Panthers 25 St. George Illawarra Dragons 10
Venue: Penrith Stadium
Halftime Score: Penrith Panthers 7-6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Mose Masoe
2 points - Josh Dugan
1 point - Luke Walsh
PENRITH PANTHERS (25)
Tries: Matt Moylan, Brad Tighe, James Roberts, James Segeyaro
Field Goals: Luke Walsh (1/1)
Conversions: Luke Walsh (4/4)
ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (10)
Tries: Jack de Belin, Lewis Brown
Conversions: Josh Dugan (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Interchange: 14. James Segeyaro 15. Mose Masoe 16. Cameron Ciraldo 17. Clint Newton
Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Brett Morris 3. Nathan Green 4. Matt Prior 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Chase Stanley 7. Nathan Fien 8. Dan Hunt 9. Mitch Rein 10. Jack Stockwell 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Ben Creagh (c) 13. Trent Merrin
Interchange: 14. Cameron King 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Jack de Belin 17. Michael Weyman
**PLAYER1** makes an unforced error.
The Dragons are right on the attack after mistake from the Panthers on their own ten.
Jack Stockwell makes an unforced error.
Stowckwell loses the ball 30 out from the Panthers' line and the home side will get a scrum.
Tim Grant makes an unforced error.
Tim Grant loses the ball and the Dragons are back on the attack.
Scored by Jack de Belin. Conversion attempt by Josh Dugan successful.
TRY! de Belin barges over the try line and scores under the post. Josh Dugan adds the extras.
St. George Illawarra Dragons 6-0
Brad Tighe makes an unforced error.
Brad Tighe knocks on 10 out from his line and the Dragons will receive a scrum deep in Panthers' territory.
Scored by Matt Moylan. Conversion attempt by Luke Walsh successful.
TRY! Luke Walsk grubbers it into the in goal, Matt Moylan races through and grounds the ball to open the scoring for the Panthers. Walsh adds the extras.
Field goal attempt by Luke Walsh successful.
Luke Walsh kicks a field goal and that will be all the action for the first half.
Penrith Panthers 7-6
Scored by Brad Tighe. Conversion attempt by Luke Walsh successful.
TRY! Issac John grubbers into the in goal and Brad Tighe wins the race to the ball and scores the first points of the second half. The conversion attempt from Luke Walsh is successful.
Penrith Panthers 13-6
Scored by Lewis Brown. Conversion attempt by Josh Dugan unsuccessful.
TRY! Lewis Brown scores in the corner after a great ball from Runcimen. Dugan fails to convert.
Penrith Panthers 13-10
**PLAYER1** makes an unforced error.
The Dragons will get a scrum 10 out from the Panthers' line after a double knock on.
James Roberts makes an unforced error.
The Dragons will get another scrum 10 out from the Penrith line after James Robert knocks a Dugan bomb over the sideline.
Tyson Frizell makes an unforced error.
Tyson Frizell loses the ball only 10 out from the Panthers' line and the Panthers are off the hook.
Scored by James Roberts. Conversion attempt by Luke Walsh successful.
TRY! Luke Walsh grubbers into the in goal and James Roberts is there to score. Walsh converts
Penrith Panthers 19-10