It was all teal at Mt Smart Stadium today as the Penrith Panthers ran riot with a 40-12 victory over the New Zealand Warriors in sunny conditions.
The Panthers had all the answers in the first half, with three tries in an identical position in the first quarter of the match, two off towering kicks to the wing of Adrian Purtell. Purtell, fullback Lachlan Coote and hooker Kevin Kingston all got their names on the Penrith scorecard before halftime, while on the opposite wing Michael Gordon managed to grab his own four pointer - also from a bomb - to send the visitors 22-0 in front at halftime.
The Warriors, presumably with an Ivan Cleary rocket up them after halftime, came shooting out of the blocks and had cut the deficit to just ten points within as many minutes and looked prime for a comeback. Just as quickly though, the Panthers piled on more points, running away 40-12 winners with Kingston and Purtell both doubling their tryscoring tallies, five-eighth Travis Burns scoring the remaining four-pointer.
A number of players had standout games in the "teal" away jersey the Panthers donned today, Kevin Kingston in particular carving the Warriors up the middle, managing two tries of his own. Penrith had stars all over the park in the end, while the Warriors made too many simple errors - the odd big hit from members of their forward pack not enough to shake the composure of the Panthers.
It's a loss that leaves big question marks over the Warriors heading into their Round 7 ANZAC Day clash with Melbourne at Etihad Stadium next Sunday. The defence of the home side was paper-thin at times, and the attack was flat and unimaginative. Admittedly the Panthers attack was full of flair most of the game, and even when the Warriors begun their catch-up, the visitors remained composed and this resulted in them resuming their scoring onslaught and going on with the game.
Next Saturday the Panthers will head home to CUA Stadium where they will face the injury-riddled Wests Tigers, a match that will no doubt be hotly anticipated with two strong forward packs coming together.
New Zealand Warriors 12 were defeated by Penrith Panthers 40
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 6 - Sunday April 18, 2010 12:00pm
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Referee: Gavin Badger and Brett Suttor
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: David Abood and Gavin Reynolds
Halftime: New Zealand Warriors 0 Penrith Panthers 22
New Zealand Warriors (12)
Tries: Brent Tate, Ukuma Ta'ai
Conversions: James Maloney (2/2)
Penrith Panthers (40)
Tries: Travis Burns, Adrian Purtell (2), Michael Gordon, Lachlan Coote, Kevin Kingston (2)
Conversions: Michael Gordon (5/7)
Penalty Goals: Michael Gordon (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Mt Smart Stadium with a good crowd on hand to witness this afternoon's clash between the Warriors and Penrith Panthers. Kickoff isn't far off - a few changes for the Warriors with Jerome Ropati back on hand, Russell Packer dropping out of the NZ side and Jeremy Latimore to start. Just one change for Penrith - Pritchard to the bench with Nathan Smith to start. Check the final line-ups by clicking "Team Lists" above.
1 min: Both teams are on the park, the Warriors in their predominantly black "main" strip, the Panthers in their teal and white "alternate" strip. New Zealand and Penrith both last start winners will be looking for a strong start. We have kickoff at a packed Mt Smart! The home side the Warriors will have first crack at the ball.
3 min: The Warriors look to push the ball right but Tate can't handle it and the Panthers come up with it, the tackle dislodging the ball there too and starting a small fisticuffs. Penrith scrum in attacking position
5 min: TRY
A towering bomb on the last and Adrian Purtell comes out with the pill and puts it down for his fourth try of 2010. Michael Gordon resists the jeers of the pro-Warriors crowd to convert and put the visitors up 6-0 early.
Penrith Panthers 6-0
8 min: A break up the middle and suddenly the Warriors looking dangerous - a loose pass is knocked-down by the Panthers' Lachlan Coote. Warriors scrum about 40m out from their own line.
10 min: Too much fancy stuff and Maloney knocks on around halfway trying to take a speculative offload.
12 min: The Panthers' set results in nothing, and the Warriors return serve by earning a penalty to get them into good field position. A farce then as the incorrect mark is called and the Warriors are forced to re-take the tap from the touch-finding kick. The set ends for the home side with Penrith claiming possession after almost pushing Locke into touch.
14 min: TRY
Penrith dismantling the home side at the moment, probing the soft edges and offering plenty of support, with Brad Tighe breaking down the left sideline before turning it inside to Kevin Kingston who scores with no issues. Gordon can't convert this one though and it's 10-nil.
Penrith Panthers 10-0
18 min: The Warriors getting muscled out of this early, making few metres and being forced to do plenty of defending. Here we have Maloney running it on his own 40m line on the last and he's wrapped up easily - Penrith will go for the jugular here.
20 min: TRY
All three tries on the same blade of grass, this one much like the first with the ball going high on tackle five after a set full of attacking flair. Lachlan Coote is the man on the end of the backwards-spilt bomb and Badger sees nothing wrong with it. Gordon doesn't miss this time and the Mt Smart crowd is left speechless as their team is left 16-0 down after just a quarter of the match.
Penrith Panthers 16-0
22 min: A relieving penalty for the Warriors as Travis Burns is in the way of Locke at dummy-half. It'll be the home side to attack... and another penalty for a strip. The Warriors need to get on the board here but Penrith's defence will hang tough...
24 min: Poor finish to the set for NZ - Lachlan Coote fields an in-goal grubber and runs it back into the field of play easily - the Warriors compound it with an offside penalty - inside the ten.
26 min: The Panthers spill the ball and Maloney picks it up and is away... and no advantage is given despite Maloney running 25 metres. Very odd ruling from Suttor and Badger. Two tackles later the Warriors spill it and Penrith will attack again.
28 min: PENALTY GOAL
Silly penalties being given away by the Warriors here, this one for knees in the ruck. Gordon no trouble from in front and Penrith go up by 18.
Penrith Panthers 18-0
31 min: A Penrith error gives the Warriors a chance but their fifth tackle sees them losing 20 metres before throwing what is called as a forward pass. Incorrect ruling according to anyone with two eyes, but probably deserved with the way the home side is playing at the moment.
32 min: Awesome hit from Bill Tupou on Penrith centre Michael Jennings. We have Matt Bell from Penrith down in the background injured - a crunching shot from Ta'ai earlier in the set looks to have winded him. The Warriors come up with the ball after a poor fifth tackle kick from the Panthers.
34 min: Offside penalty for inside the ten gives the Warriors another chance - they haven't looked like scoring at all today, is this their shot now?
34 min: No. Lewis Brown is hammered, loses the ball. Now a penalty for inside the ten against the Warriors. Coach Ivan Cleary would be fuming in the stands... nine penalties today, the count 5-4 in Penrith's favour.
36 min: TRY
Another high ball, this time to Michael Gordon's wing, results in a try. A mess coming down but it's the goalkicking winger with the four pointer, which he fails to convert and the Panthers will take a 22-point lead as we approach the break.
Penrith Panthers 22-0
39 min: A promising break down the left for the Warriors ends in Bill Tupou juggling and losing the ball - they're missing Vatuvei the Warriors. Down the other end of the park now and Pritchard nails Maloney after the latter takes a bomb on his own 20 metre line. The Warriors attack a little more spirited of late but that's halftime and they'll need to regroup.
40 min: HALFTIME at Mt Smart, Penrith comfortably in front, the Warriors with a mountain of work to do if they're to get back in this.
41 min: Proceedings back underway in Auckland.
43 min: Ropati with a fantastic break and he's away but Jennings and Gordon combine and the latter comes up with the intercept, thwarting the Warriors hopeful start to the second half.
45 min: TRY
Ukuma Ta'ai picks up a scrappy cut-out pass and jogs into a huge gap after a great run by Lewis Brown puts the Warriors in front of the posts. Maloney's conversion closes the gap to 16.
Penrith Panthers 22-6
49 min: A completely different Warriors side out here and they're being aided by some poor Penrith discipline, a few penalties in the home side's favour already. The NZ side are hammering the Penrith line!
51 min: TRY
Mt Smart explodes! Brent Tate is out wide and buries over and above a number of Penrith defenders to get the ball down. Gritty defence by the Panthers not enough to keep them out in the end and some might say it's game on again! Maloney converts, it's 22-12 and just ten points the difference.
Penrith Panthers 22-12
56 min: Penrith with the footy in attacking range, a try here could put the Warriors to sleep despite the comeback. Last tackle... the ball goes through the hands - and over the sideline. Wait on, it's come off a Warriors hand! Penrith with a scrum feed ten metres out and another shot at the line...
57 min: We're up to the VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Penrith try.
58 min: TRY
Travis Burns puts a stop to the Warriors fightback as he barges over and gets the ball down - no double movement ruled. Gordon's conversion puts the margin back to sixteen.
Penrith Panthers 28-12
61 min: Penrith stepping up with some bruising defence here as the Warriors look to try and get back within striking distance. Incidentally, for those interested the Toyota Cup Under 20 clash earlier today went the way of the home side - Warriors 56 Panthers 10.
66 min: TRY
Purtell has a double and the Panthers will take the two points here, a try removing all doubt for the men in teal.
Penrith Panthers 34-12
70 min: Aaron Heremaia down injured for the Warriors.
72 min: An optimistic kick and chase from Luke Walsh goes nowhere and the Warriors wrap the ball up.
75 min: TRY
Brad Tighe breaks down the left and before he's put into touch he kicks in-field for hooker Kevin Kingston - roles you'd normally expect to be reversed. Kingston dives before the line and bounces over. The crowd at Mt Smart is eerily quiet as the visitors run riot.
Penrith Panthers 40-12
78 min: Penrith throwing it around a bit as the game winds down, seeing if they can add to their points differential as they continue to sit high on the ladder in 2010. They have the ball in attacking position with a little over a minute remaining.
80 min: FULLTIME and Penrith will take the chocolates after a well-earned victory. Disappointing form from the men in black after a terrible first half. They looked ready to bounce back in the second half but the Panthers switched back on and ran away with the game.