While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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Penrith Panthers 32 v South Sydney Rabbitohs 20
at CUA Stadium, Penrith
Referee: Jarred Maxwell
The Penrith Panthers have posted a 32-20 victory over the South Sydney Rabbitohs today at CUA Stadium in Penrith.
This game was a big test for both teams with Penrith contributing seven players to Friday night?s City v Country clash, presenting Souths with a good opportunity to post their first victory of the season. Ironically, all seven players for the Panthers backed up whilst the lone representative for the Rabbitohs, Adam MacDougall, withdrew from today?s game after suffering a suspected broken jaw out in Dubbo.
The first half of the match was dominated by Penrith, gaining plenty of possession through errors by the Rabbitohs who started the game by dropping the ball early in their first set of six. They capitalised on this in the 11th minute through forward Shane Rodney who barged his way over close to the line.
Souths responded five minutes later through try-scoring whiz Nathan Merritt and it appeared as though the visitors would make a game of it, trailing 6-4. But tries to Luke Lewis in the 22nd minute and Origin hopeful Trent Waterhouse three minutes before halftime opened up and 18-4 lead at the break.
Fatigue was likely to play a factor in the game and for Souths to take advantage they needed to score early points in the second half. These thoughts appeared to be dashed though as Luke Rooney steamed over the stripe in the 43rd minute to push the scoreline out to 22-4.
With nothing to lose Souths chanced their arm and it paid dividends with tries to Sutton (45th minute), Walker (55th minute) and Fa?alogo (65th minute) bringing them right back into calculations at 22-20.
But the prospect of a fifth straight defeat sprung Penrith back into action with a relieving effort by Rooney, rounding out his double, spelling the end for the Bunnies. Rhys Wesser capped of the victory with a late try taking the margin to 32-20.
It leaves the Panthers in 11th position thus far, the ladder somewhat bottlenecked with five other teams on 10 points. They face the out-of-form Eels next Friday night at home in a local derby at Penrith. For Souths, the loss compounds their woes for the year as they remain winless and also face their neighbours the Sydney Roosters at their former home ground on Sunday.
Penrith Panthers: 32
Tries: Luke Lewis, Shane Rodney, Luke Rooney(2), Trent Waterhouse, Rhys Wesser
Goals: Preston Campbell 4/6
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 20
Tries: David Fa'alogo, John Sutton, Ben Walker, Nathan Merritt
Goals: Nathan Merritt 2/4
Halftime: Panthers 18-4
By the Clock:
Good day out here at Penrith.
Adam MacDougall for Souths will miss the contest through injury. All seven of Penrith's players are backing up from Friday night.
We're underway in the first half!
5 min: NEWS Both teams sorting themselves out early in the second half.
11 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
The Panthers take an early lead through forward Shane Rodney after a good burst onto the ball. Preston Campbell converts and Penrith are off to a good start.
16 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
Try-scoring whiz Nathan Merritt hits back for the Bunnies with a flashy try. He fails to convert and the visitors trail by 2 points.
22 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Speedster Luke Lewis gets on the end of a backline move and pushes the Panthers further in front. They're looking pretty good at the moment. Campbell converts again and the hosts take a healthy lead.
27 min: NEWS Not much doing out here at Penrith Park with both sides playing patchy footy right now.
32 min: NEWS The Panthers are dominating possession out here, starving the Rabbitohs of the ball. A fair few mistakes in the game also, with dropped balls and missed tackles here and there.
37 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Penrith getting the better of Souths here, scoring another try through Origin hopeful Trent Waterhouse. Campbell converts and they have a healthy lead just before half time.
40 min: NEWS Half time: Only a strong second half revival can stop Souths from slumping to their 9th loss of the season as the Panthers are doing well enough to win the game. Fatigue may be a factor with Penrith having 7 players backing up from Friday night, but you get the feeling the Panthers will put the Bunnies away here.
41 min: NEWS We're underway in the second half as the Bunnies have a 14-point deficit to make up. Penrith will be looking to finish them off with a couple of early tries.
43 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Long-striding winger Luke Rooney lopes across the chalk for his first of the afternoon and the Panthers ram home the advantage. Campbell fails to convert.
45 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
Classy five-eighth John Sutton gets his first of the day for Souths and it's a much needed one. Merritt can't add the extras and the 14-point advantage remains.
55 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
Walker scores for Souths, Merritt converts
65 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
Fa'alogo bags one for the Bunnies as they come back into the contest. Merritt converts again.
70 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Rooney hits back for the Panthers and presses his Origin claims. Cambell converts.
78 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Wesser seals victory for Penrith as they put to rest a late charge by Souths. Campbell fails to add the extras.
80 min: NEWS Penrith hold out South Sydney to break their 4 match losing streak as the Bunnies slump to their 9th loss of the season.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Preston Campbell (Panthers)
2 - Luke Rooney (Panthers)
1 - Trent Waterhouse (Panthers)