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The Penrith Panthers have made the Titans pay for a sloppy first half, downing the Gold Coast 34-20 in front of 9,760 fans at CUA Stadium in Monday Night Football action.
A blistering individual display from Panthers young gun Jarrod Sammut in which he scored two tries in as many minutes just before halftime has helped Penrith deny the Titans five straight competition wins.
The Panthers got off to a flying start with tries to former Knight Luke Walsh and fullback Lachlan Coote to have the competition frontrunners on the ropes.
However, after having an earlier try denied for offside in which he put in a deftly placed grubber for Chris Walker, there was no denying the Titans captain Scott Prince the 2nd time as he hit back for the visitors with a try of his own to bring the score to 12-4.
But in the blink of an eye, Sammut, who started the match from the bench, looked as though he had all but sealed the match for the home side with a great individual display of pace and skill as he helped himself to two tries.
In the first he made Ashley Harrison look ordinary in defence as he easily stood him up, the second he caught the Titans markers napping as he raced out of dummy half before kicking and regathering to score.
The match looked well and truly over at the break with the Panthers leading 22-4.
But thanks to a freakish try to the Titans through Brett Delaney, in which Preston Campbell kicked a loose ball ahead twice, and another try to Kevin Gordon, courtesy of a nice flick pass from Will Zillman, the Titans looked as though they may stage a West Tigers like escape.
The Titans perhaps should have got closer than 22-14 as they received a mountain of possession thanks to a favourable second half penalty count and some smart last tackle options.
However it was the Panthers night, as they resisted the Titans challenges and raced away for two more tries to Michael Jennings and Shane Elford to seal the match 34-20.
Match Details Penrith Panthers 34 def Gold Coast Titans 20 Round 7 - Monday April 27th, 2009 7:00pm Venue: CUA Stadium, Penrith Referee: Ben Cummins & Jared Maxwell Sideline: David Abood & Steve Carrall Video: Chris Ward Crowd: 9,760 Halftime: Panthers 22-6 Penrith Panthers 34 Tries: Luke Walsh, Lachlan Coote, Jarrod Sammut (2), Michael Jennings, Shane Elford Goals: Michael Gordon (5/6) Gold Coast Titans 20 Tries: Scott Prince, Brett Delaney, Kevin Gordon, William Zillman Goals: Scott Prince (2/4) LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Luke Lewis (Panthers) 2 Points: Jarrod Sammut (Panthers) 1 Point: Luke Walsh (Panthers) LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good Evening and welcome to the leagueunlimited.com coverage of Monday Night Football. Tonight sees the Penrith Panthers at home to the Gold Coast Titans.
The Titans will be without Luke Bailey and Mat Rogers this evening as they were both ruled out during the week. There withdrawals makes the already tough trip to Penrith even harder for the Titans who look to continue their impressive start to the season. Preston Campbell will move to five-eighth for the Titans with Will Zillman taking the fullback spot.
The line ups are: PANTHERS: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Michael Gordon 3. Michael Jennings 4. Gavin Cooper 5. Shane Elford 6. Wade Graham 17. Luke Walsh 15. Frank Puletua 9. Paul Aiton 10. Petero Civoniceva 11. Trent Waterhouse 14. Nathan Smith 13. Luke Lewis Interchange: 12. Frank Pritchard 8. Tim Grant 16. Matthew Bell 7. Jarrod Sammut
TITANS: 1. Will Zillman 2. Kevin Gordon 3. Esi Tonga 4. Brett Delaney 5. Chris Walker 6. Preston Campbell 7. Scott Prince 8. Aaron Cannings 9. Nathan Friend 10. Michael Henderson 11. Anthony Laffranchi 12. Mark Minichiello 13. Ashley Harrison Interchange: 14. Matt White 15. Will Matthews 16. Luke O'Dwyer 17. Josh Graham
And we're underway with the Titans having the first use of the ball!
2nd min: Some aggresive defence from both sides in the opening exchanges
3rd min: VIDEO REF - Possible try to the Titans. Checking grounding.
VIDEO REF - A smart kick from Prince for Chris Walker, looks as though he grounded it on the dead ball line.
3rd min: NO TRY - another Titans player ruled offside.
4th min: An error from the Titans has Penrith on the attack.
6th min: TRY Penrith Panthers The coast a made to pay for their mistake as Penrith draw first blood. Some smart work from former Knight Luke Walsh as he goes over for a try. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 6-0
12th min: TRY Penrith Panthers The Panthers have started nicely with another try this time to Lachlan Coote. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 12-0
16th min: Nathan Friend loses the ball, inches away from the tryline.
19th min: Penrith back on the attack as the Titans are penalised.
20th min: PENALTY TITANS - Takes some pressure off the Gold Coast as they were working it out of their half.
21st min: Just when the Titans get a chance it all comes to an end as Minichiello coughs it up.
23rd min: TRY Gold Coast Titans The Titans are on the board with a try to Scott Prince after Esi Tonga makes former Titan Gavin Cooper look ordinary in defence. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince unsuccessful. Penrith Panthers 12-4
25th min: Titans get to the kick on their first set after the try.
26th min: PENALTY PANTHERS - A bad high tackle from the Titans goes on report.
26th min: Panthers right on the attack after that penalty.
27th min: Aiton fumbles a pass from Waterhouse, off a nice set piece from the Panthers. Titans off the hook.
28th min: PENALTY TITANS - Only their second of the night.
28th min: Titans now with a chance 25m out from the Panthers line.
29th min: Walsh is there to clean up a grubber from Prince. The Titans asked a few questions there but the Panthers held tough.
31st min: Jennings loses the ball for the Panthers, cleaned up by Walker and the Titans are hot on the attack.
32nd min: Errors costing both sides at important times. An error this time from Zillman.
33rd min: PENALTY PANTHERS - the second penalty of the night against the team in possession, both against the Titans. Titans getting smashed in the penalties 6-2.
34th min: PENALTY PANTHERS - second penalty in sucession. This time for a tackle infringement.
35th min: TRY Penrith Panthers The Panthers make the Titans pay for giving the too many penalties away. Jarrod Sammut making Ashley Harrison look foolish in defence. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon unsuccessful. Penrith Panthers 16-4
38th min: TRY Penrith Panthers Sammut scores his second try in as many minutes. Capitalises off a quick play the ball, putting through a little grubber, regathers his own kick and races away to score. A great individual effort. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 22-4
HALF TIME - It's all the Panthers here, making the Titans pay for some poor errors and capitalising on the penalty count, which is in their favour 7-2. If possession swings back even, maybe the Titans can get back in it but it looks as though they have given too much start.
Delaney kicks off and we are underway in the second half with the Coast needing to find something.
41st min: Elford away down the wing in an exciting first set for the Panthers but a poor last tackle kick lets them down.
43rd min: PENALTY TITANS - High tackle from Walsh on Zillman.
43rd min: Looks like it's going to be much of the same for the Titans as they lose the ball on one of the early tackles.
44th min: PENALTY PANTHERS - and they are on the attack!
45th min: Zillman cleans up a Sammut grubber and it looks as though he is away only to be pulled down by Jennings.
46th min: TRY Gold Coast Titans A freakish try from the Titans as Preston kicks ahead twice off a Chris Walker inside pass and Brett Delaney is there to pounce on the ball and score. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful. Penrith Panthers 22-10
48th min: Well, well, well a penalty to the Titans for the Panthers being offside from the kick off.
49th min: TRY Gold Coast Titans We have a game on our hands! Titans are in again as Zillman makes Cooper once again look silly in defence and throws a Gidley like pass to Gordon who is over to score. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince unsuccessful. Penrith Panthers 22-14
52nd min: It's all Titans at the moment as they trap the Panthers in goal. It's been a while since the Panthers have had the ball.
54th min: Back to back sets as Panthers again trapped in goal. This time off a Friend grubber.
55th min: All leads to nothing though as Preston kicks it dead in goal. 20m tap Panthers.
57th min: PENALTY TITANS - A try here would make it interesting!
58th min: A high kick from Preston Campbell is taken by Gordon... then lost. Changeover Panthers.
59th min: Errors starting to creep into the Panthers game as the teams switch roles from the first half. Titans scrum 40m out from Panthers line.
60th min: PENALTY TITANS - They have reversed as well. 4-1 to the Titans in this half.
61st min: Walker puts a foot out to give the Panthers a scrum feed. Important for the Panthers to complete this set...
62nd min: And they do so, finishing with a bomb which Zillman takes under extreme pressure.
63rd min: Prince finds touch on the last tackle. Perhaps should have kept it in play and keep the pressure on the Panthers.
64th min: TRY Penrith Panthers Jennings catches the markers asleep and perhaps has put the Titans comeback to sleep as he crosses for a try. Just a display of pure pace and smarts to catch out some lazy marker defence. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 28-14
67th min: PENALTY TITANS - Zillman taking another bomb under pressure. Sammut penalised for flopping on the tackled player.
69th min: Back to back sets for the Titans as Walsh fumbles then forces it ingoal for the Panthers.
70th min: 6 to go Titans. Passed knocked down.
70th min: Minichiello coughs it up. And that is more than likely goodnight for the Titans.
72nd min: TRY Penrith Panthers Elford takes an intercept to race away and score. The Titans have had plenty of chances in the second half, but their execution has let them down. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 34-14
75th min: Sammut runs down Prince when he looked certain to score.
76th min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Too little too late for the Titans, but Zillman gets a consolation try off a nicely angled Prince grubber. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful. Penrith Panthers 34-20
79th min: Zillman takes another Panthers bomb, not much pressure this time though.
FULL TIME: And in their quest for five wins on the trot, the Titans have failed and the money from the punters was right as the Panthers have beaten the Coast, 34-20.