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Penrith Panthers 24 v Wests Tigers 20
at CUA Stadium, Penrith
Referees: Russell Smith
The Penrith Panthers have defeated the Wests Tigers 24-20 at CUA Stadium this evening.
Penrith raced out to an 18-4 lead late in the first half but the Tigers scored just before the break to reduce the deficit to ten points at the half.
The Tigers then went on a scoring spree, eventually taking the lead 20-18 in only the 52nd minute. With just under half an hour on the clock the Panthers had plenty of time to get back in the game but the match winner didn't come until the 74th minute, with Luke Lewis scoring to give the Panthers a narrow two point lead.
A Preston Campbell penalty goal in the last minute of play sealed the result for the Panthers and the win gets them back into the finals race as they are now equal with the Tigers, Raiders and Cowboys on 16 points.
The loss was a costly one for the Tigers, who lost Benji Marshall to a shoulder injury in the second half after he tried to pull off a shoulder charge on Tony Puletua, a move fraught with danger. At this stage there is no word on the severity of the injury to Marshall, but he does have problems with his shoulders so Tigers fans will no doubt be waiting with anticpation as to the severity of his injury.
In the end, it was the kicking of Preston Campbell that proved to be the difference in a tight contest that may yet shape the remainder of the season for both clubs.
Penrith Panthers: 24
Tries: Preston Campbell, Danny Galea, Luke Lewis, Michael Gordon
Goals: Preston Campbell 4/5
Wests Tigers: 20
Tries: Ben Galea, Chris Heighington, Shannon McDonnell(2)
Goals: Brett Hodgson 2/4
Halftime: Panthers 18-8
By the Clock:
1 min: NEWS We are underway at CUA Stadium!
5 min: TRY Wests Tigers
Shannon McDonnell opens the scoring for the Tigers but Hodgson misses the conversion.
13 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
The Panthers hit back through a try to Danny Galea and take the lead through the successful conversion to Preston Campbell.
20 min: NEWS Halfway through the first half and it's a pretty even contest so far with the Panthers holding a slight edge.
30 min: NEWS After 30 minutes, still no change to the score but the Tigers are starting to find a lot of open space so they may hit the lead before the break.
33 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Penrith extend their lead through a try to rookie Michael Gordon and with the successful conversion, the Panthers take an eight point lead with just over five minutes until half time.
35 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
The Tigers are in real trouble now as the Panther score again in quick time. Preston Campbell was the man to inflict pain on the Tigers this time and the mountain men now hold a comfortable lead just moments before the break.
38 min: TRY Wests Tigers
The Tigers score a crucial try before half time that leaves them ten points in arrears but with their attacking powers, they are a long way from gone in this match.
41 min: NEWS We are underway in the second half!
50 min: TRY Wests Tigers
The Tigers are right back in the match thanks to a try to Ben Galea. Brett Hodgson converts his first try of the night to get the Tigers within four points and there is plenty of time left on the clock.
52 min: TRY Wests Tigers
Unbelievably, the Tigers are in front thanks to a try to Shannon McDonnell and the successful conversion from Brett Hodgson. Can the Panthers hit back?
65 min: NEWS With fifteen minutes remaining, the Tigers still hold a narrow two point lead so this one may well go down to the wire as has been the case recently.
71 min: NEWS With under ten minutes remaining, the Panthers need to at least get a penalty goal and send the game into extra time but if the Tigers score, it's all over.
74 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
The Panthers have hit back through Luke Lewis and it might just be enough to get them home and ignite their premiership aspirations and put a dent in the title hopes of the Tigers. Still, with five to go you'd be a brave person to say the result is in the bag.
80 min: PENALTY GOAL Penrith Panthers
Preston Campbell caps off a fine game with a penalty goal in the last minute to add a little salt into the wound for the Tigers.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Preston Campbell (Panthers)
2 - Luke Lewis (Panthers)
1 - Shannon McDonnell (Tigers)