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A late double to Penrith halfback Luke Walsh put an exclamaition mark on the Panthers victory as they condemnded the Wests Tigers to their fifth successive loss. The mid-season signing was instrumental in the victory as he guided the Penrith attack.
The early signs were positive for the home side as they opened the scoring through human wrecking-ball Taniela Tuiaki in the 19th minute. The Tigers shifted the ball to the blindside and Dene Halatau gave a beautiful pass back inside to Tuiaki who got the ball down in traffic.
The Tigers ball handling crippled their chances as their completion rate slipped under 50%. Penrith hooker Paul Aiton darted over for the softest of tries in the 27th minute to give the Panthers a 6-4 lead. Poor ball handling from both teams continued to mar the game as Penrith held their slight advantage into half time.
The Panthers burst out of the blocks in the second half through a four-pointer to Geoff Daniela but the Tigers hit back in the 50th minute in controversial circumstances. Robbie Farah was awarded a try from the Video Ref after Benji Marshall appeared to pass the ball after his ball-holding hand had touched the ground.
After Benji Marshall locked the scores at 10-all with a penalty goal Robbie Farah stepped up for the Tigers as he drove his way over the line. The decision was sent upstairs but it was sent straight back down with a Refs Call and Jason Robinson deemed Farah had been held up.
A Brad Tighe four-pointer in the 71st gave Penrith the lead and Walsh then stepped his way over for the first of his two tries in the dying stages.
Match Details Penrith Panthers 26 def Wests Tigers 10 Round 13 - Friday June 5th, 2009 07:35pm Venue: Leichhardt Oval Referee: Jason Robinson & Bernard Sutton Sideline Officials: Steve Carrall & Chris James Video Referee: Chris Ward Crowd: 14,100 Halftime: Panthers 6 Tigers 4
Wests Tigers 10 Tries: Taniela Tuiaki, Robbie Farah Goals: Benji Marshall (1/3) Penrith Panthers 26 Tries: Paul Aiton, Geoff Daniela, Brad Tighe, Luke Walsh (2) Goals: Gavin Cooper (1/1), Luke Walsh (2/4)
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Tigers- Great Britian international Gareth Ellis has been ruled out with Todd Payten shifting from the frontrow to lock. John Skandalis comes of the bench to start at prop. Willie Mataka comes into the squad in jersey 19.
Panthers- Origin debutant Michael Jennings has been ruled out with Maurice Blair coming of an extended bench to replace him at centre. Jarrod Sammut has been ruled out with injury giving Lachlan Coote the chance to start at fullback in jersey 25.
Following these changes the teams will line-up as such:
TIGERS: 1. Tim Moltzen 2. Taniela Tuiaki 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Dene Halatau 5. Beau Ryan 6. John Morris 7. Benji Marshall 16. John Skandalis 9. Robbie Farah 10. Bryce Gibbs 12. Chris Heighington 13. Corey Payne 8. Todd Payten Interchange: 14. Rhys Hanbury 15. Danny Galea 17. Daine Laurie 19. Willie Mataka
PANTHERS: 25. Lachlan Coote 2. Geoff Daniela 3. Brad Tighe 4. Michael Jennings 5. Shane Elford 6. Wade Graham 7. Luke Walsh 8. Petero Civoniceva (c) 9. Paul Aiton 10. Frank Puletua 11. Trent Waterhouse 12. Frank Pritchard 13. Luke Lewis Interchange: 15. Nathan Smith 16. Gavin Cooper 17. Matthew Bell, 19. Masada Iosefa
2 min: Robbie Farah is held up following back-to-back penalties to the Tigers.
3 min: SCRUM Panthers. Penrith have a scrum on their 10m line following a Tigers knock-on.
6 min: PENALTY Panthers. Penrith have a tap 30m out from the Tigers line.
7 min: PENALTY Panthers. The Tigers are penalised on their line for obstructing the play-the-ball. They decide to keep the pressure on with a tap.
8 min: Goal-line Dropout Tigers. Penrith earn a repeat set as Farah is forced to take the ball dead.
12 min: Paul Aiton loses a boot and his sock in a tackle! He'll play with one sock for the rest of the half.
16 min: A big hit from Frank Pritchard sends Daine Laurie stumbling back.
17 min: TRY Wests Tigers The Tigers run down the blind side and Halatau gives a beautiful ball inside to Tuiaki who shrugs off defenders to get the ball over the line. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall unsuccessful. Wests Tigers 4-0
19 min: The Tigers break straight through the ruck but Todd Payten can't hold a pass in support.
25 min: PENALTY Panthers. Daine Laurie penalised for having his arm around the neck of a player. Penrith tap 40m from the Tigers line.
32 min: SCRUM Tigers. Wade Grahem puts an attacking kick across field but Brad Tighe knocks-on as he leaps for the ball.
35 min: The Tigers knock the ball on again and have now only competed 8 of 16 sets.
40 min: Goal-line Dropout Tigers. Moltzen knocks the ball dead but there won't be time for the kick as the half time siren sounds.
Half Time- Penrith Panthers 6 lead West Tigers 4 It has been a dour affair at Leichhardt Oval with handling errors crippling both teams attacks. The Panthers have had a slight edge in the ball control but it's anyones game in the second half.
Golden Boots Keith Barnes has a grandstand opened in his honour during the half time break.
41 min: KICKOFF! Back underway here as Penrith have the footy.
43 min: The Panthers break down the field but scrambling defence brings Wade Graham down.
44 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Penrith off to a great start in the second half as Graham threads a kick through for Geoff Daniela to score. Conversion attempt by Luke Walsh unsuccessful. Penrith Panthers 10-4
49 min: The Tigers break down field and the ball is fed onto John Morris who looked for all money like he was going to score but Shane Elford made a brilliant try-saving tackle.
53 min: Goal-line Dropout Panthers. The Tigers have lifted their tempo and only a desperate Luke Walsh prevented a back-to-back tries as he slid in and knocked the ball dead.
58 min: SCRUM Panthers. The Tigers lose the ball and Penrith have the football on halfway.
59 min: Luke Walsh sends an attacking kick across field but it sails dead.
67 min: SCRUM Tigers. Farah offloads the ball on the last tackle and Nathan Smith knocks the ball forward. The Tigers effectively get a repeat set 35m from Penrith's line.
69 min: POSSIBLE TRY Panthers. Frank Pritchard puts the ball down for Penrith. It's gone upstairs once again.
69 min: NO TRY Panthers. Lachlan Coote collects the ball from a bomb from an offside position and is penalised. PENALTY Tigers.
71 min: TRY Penrith Panthers The Panthers shift the ball right and a shocking read from Tuiaki sees Brad Tighe score in the corner. Tuiaki rushed up for the intercept but the ball beat him and Tighe had an open passage to the try line. Walsh hits the upright with the kick. Conversion attempt by Luke Walsh unsuccessful. Penrith Panthers 14-10
75 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Luke Walsh wins the game for Penrith! He takes the line on, first stepping off his left and then his right to slice through the Tigers defence and score. Conversion attempt by Luke Walsh successful. Penrith Panthers 20-10
79 min: POSSIBLE TRY Panthers. Luke Walsh could be in again. The Video Ref is checking a thousand things.
79 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Luke Walsh get a double as he finishes off a play which had everything. Penrith put up a bomb which is knocked back, the ball is passed on and kicked again. The kick is gathered and then gets passed inside until Walsh finished off to cap a sensational game. Conversion attempt by Luke Walsh successful. Penrith Panthers 26-10