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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Fulltime score: Round 3 Panthers 18 v Dragons 8
The Dragons started like a team possessed with eight very early and very easy points in just over 10 minutes.
The defence of the Dragons was simply outstanding as they continually shot down any glimpse of a Panthers' attack until late in the first half. The Panthers seemed shell shocked by the force of the Dragons start to the match and they took quite a fair while to settle into the game.
The game tied up at the break at 8-all probably complimenting the Panthers more than they deserved. Russell Smith dictating the game with a total of 24 penalties in the match.
Unfortunate errors slowly crept into the game moreso in the second spell allowing the Panthers and their home crowd back into the game with two unanswered tries early in the half to eventually sew up the game.
The two small men in the Panthers pack, Wesser and Campbell, certainly having an impact as their team grew in confidence. Timmins and Thompson dug deep for their side but fortunately for the visiting Dragons, another loss in the 2005 season to keep them 0/3.
Score details: PANTHERS 18 Tries: Wesser, Lewis, Campbell Goals: Campbell 2/3 con, 1/1 pen defeated DRAGONS 8 Tries: Best Goals: Head 1/1 con, 1/1 pen
Referee: Russell Smith Half time: 8-8
0 min: Kick off!
5th min: NEWS - Back to back penalties for the Panthers and they're right on attack. A quick tap on the 20 metre mark instead of an easy 2 points not the right option however an unfortunate knock on by Head hands the Panthers another set close to their line, which again is faltered by the Dragons defence
6th min: NEWS - 40/20 to the Dragons courtesy of Head early in the tackle count
8th min: TRY - DRAGONS Simple play through the hands with Thompson running a superb decoy and Best scores out wide. Head from 15 metres in, adds the 2 extra points. Dragons 6-0
11th min: PENALTY GOAL - DRAGONS Wesser (Panthers) penalised for slowing down the play as the Dragons attack with ease, Wesser very lucky not to be in the bin. Head adds another 2 points. Dragons 8-0
13th min: NEWS - Clayton (Panthers) has a brain explosion after a long kick from Head down to their line. Luckily for Clayton as he throws the ball in from touch his foot is on the sideline otherwise Cooper had pounced on the ball to score
15th min: NEWS - A penalty tap for the Dragons close to their line results in no try as Hornby bangs into a flying Timmins. Score remains 8-0 to the Dragons
21st min: NEWS - Back to back penalties yet again to the Panthers against an enthusiastic Dragons defence. The home crowds roars to encourage their team to no avail
25th min: NEWS - The Dragons of old look impressive on both attack and defence. With the Panthers on the ropes, Thompson is pinged for a 'play the ball' offence. The Panthers let off the hook. Dragons hold their lead 8-0
28th min: NEWS - The Dragons defence right on the Panthers line is absolutely spot on. The Panthers unable to penetrate through any gap no matter how hard they try. Top performance by the defenders
31st min: NEWS - A break by Wesser (Panthers) looked to finally have his team on the board but the pass to Lewis is knocked on, not their night so far. Once again the pressure by the Dragons defence on the mark. Dragons 8-0
34th min: TRY PANTHERS Finally the drought for the Panthers is broken as Wesser runs a very quick 60 metres as he breaks through the Dragons defence to score a superb solo try. Campbell from out wide brings the Panthers to within two points of the Dragons. Dragons 8-6
40th min: PENALTY GOAL - PANTHERS Campbell from near out in front levels the scores at the break following another penalty against the visitors. 8-8.
HALFTIME: The penalty count of 9-5 to the Panthers having a definite bearing on the match with Russell Smith in charge. The Dragons have most definitely stepped up from their last two rounds however at times making crucial unforced errors. The Panthers are troubled trying to crack a hole in the Dragons defence with Wesser so far the only one to succeed, the home side very lucky to be equal on the scoreboard. 8-8 at the break
Second half underway..
44th min: NEWS - Things a little heated after the break, Russell Smith having to do a lot of talking after penalising Hornby in the return kick play
45th min: TRY PANTHERS A penalty for the Panthers following the earlier scuffle with Hornby is turned into a 4 pointer as the Panthers spread the ball wide and Lewis is over for the try. A brilliant tackle by Cooper almost stops the movement with his arm wrapped around the ball, the video ref deciding in the end. Campbell from right on the sideline, misses the conversion. Panthers hit the lead, 12-8
48th min: NO TRY DRAGONS Obvious obstruction play by the Dragons bombs a certain try as they were hot on attack. Back to back penalties result for the Panthers. They hold the lead by 12-8
55th min: NEWS - The momentum of the game swinging the way of the Penrith side with the home side in full noise
56th min: TRY PANTHERS A line dropout to the Panthers sets up Gower who throws the perfect dummy and Campbell flies in to nab the ball and score. Campbell converts his own try. Panthers 18-8
62nd min: NO TRY PANTHERS Wesser so close to the line as he bursts through the Dragons defence but is pulled up for a double movement. Score remains 18-8 to the Panthers
64th min: NEWS - A heated exchange between Pritchard and Youngquest is sorted with the Dragons rightfully getting the penalty. Unbelievably the kick doesn't go into touch. Best (Dragons) leaves the field with an eye injury
70th min: NEWS - Timmins (Dragons) makes a try saving tackle along with Hornby as Rooney looked certain to score out wide for the Panthers. Penrith lead 18-8
72nd min: NEWS - The Dragons hit their attack from inside the Panthers 20 with a barnstorming run by Cooper down the sideline. 5th tackle close to the line is snuffed out by the Penrith defence
76th min: NEWS - A scrum feed for the Dragons on their 10 metre line could've made things very interesting in the last 5 minutes of the match. Unfortunately Timmins looses the ball forward in the tackle. Panthers hold their lead of 18-8
FULL TIME: Some brilliance and some foolishness shown by both sides tonight however the Panthers secure their first win of the season by 18-8 over the Dragons
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - P Campbell (Panthers) 2 - R Wesser (Panthers) 1 - S Timmins (Dragons) -----------------------------------------