Panthers still on top of the competition

The Penrith Panthers have held off a late finishing St. George Illawarra outfit to reclaim top spot on the NRL ladder with an 18-14 victory at Sportingbet Stadium in front of 13,768.

The Panthers jumped to a 12-0 lead mid-way through the opening half as Dean Whare finished off right-side raids which featured Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace.

Gareth Widdop and Adam Quinlan troubled the defence and the hands of the Dragons fullback saw Charly Runciman post points in the final minutes before the break. After 40 minutes, the hosts took a 12-4 lead into half time.

Jason Nightingale swept across the back of the attacking line and again via of Quinlan the Dragons closed the gap to just two points, 12-10.

Jamie Soward is known as the fastest man of 40 metres and his footwork crafted the Panthers third try as he provided space for Josh Mansour to cross untouched. Penrith regained their 8 point lead as the game approached the three-quarter mark.

There was a flicker of hope for the Red V faithful as Jason Nightingale flew down the eastern sideline in the final two minutes. However it wasn't to be as the clock wound down before they could cross the line to steal victory.

Next week the Panthers enjoy a week off with a bye, while the Dragons head to the Gold Coast to clash with the Titans on Sunday afternoon.


Match Details
Penrith Panthers 18 St. George Illawarra Dragons 14
Venue: Sportingbet Stadium Penrith
Crowd: 13768
Halftime Score: Penrith Panthers 12 St. George Illawarra Dragons 4

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:

3 points - Peter Wallace
2 points - Sika Manu
1 point - Gareth Widdop

PENRITH PANTHERS (18)
Tries: Dean Whare (2), Josh Mansour
Field Goals:
Conversions: Jamie Soward (3/3)
Penalty Goals:

ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (14)
Tries: Charly Runciman, Jason Nightingale (2)
Field Goals:
Conversions: Gareth Widdop (1/3)
Penalty Goals:


LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

LATE MAIL: Dragons - Unchanged and line up 1-17.

LATE MAIL: Panthers - Kevin Naiqama replaces Dallin Watene-Zelezniak who was suspended by NSWRL Judiciary for 4 weeks.

Welcome to Sportingbet Stadium in Penrith as the Panthers host the St. George Illawarra Dragons as they hope to jump back on top of the NRL ladder. The Dragons are coming off a solid 30-0 win over the Sharks in Round 13, however it was against a Cronulla outfit that was well underdone. The Panthers are favourites tonight but the Dragons could turn up and give the Panthers a scare.

1: We are UNDERWAY as the Dragons kick off to give the Panthers first use of the ball

1: Not the greatest kick from Jamie Soward on the end of the first set, it bounces high over the dead ball line to give the Dragons a 20 metre tap restart.

2: Gareth Widdop bombs on the last tackle and it's almost regathered by the Dragons on the last tackle, however it's a change over and the Panthers have possession 10 metres off their own line.

3: Penalty to the Panthers as Peter Wallace was cleaned up as he kicked away on the last tackle. Soward finds touch and the Panthers attack 20 metres out.

4: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by Dean Whare. Kick to come.

Dean Whare opens the scoring for the Panthers as they shifted across to the right as Wallace links with Soward to provide the short passes on the eastern sideline.

5: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION PENRITH PANTHERS
Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.

Jamie Soward with the conversion attempt from the eastern touchline strikes it well to slot the extras to give the Panthers a 6 point lead

7: Great kick from the Panthers on the end of their set which sees the Dragons work it off their own try line

10: UNFORCED ERROR PENRITH PANTHERS
Elijah Taylor makes an unforced error.

Elijah Taylor fumbles the ball as he attempted to play it on the 4th tackle, a poor mistake on the end of the set from the Panthers. Scrum for the Panthers 15 metres short of half way.

12: Penalty to the Dragons, offside the call from the Panthers as they looked to shut down a fast charging pack lead by Benji Marshall. Peter Mata'utia going close in the play but held short of the try line.

13: Time off here with Tyson Frizell down as he went down heavily in a tackle of Peachey. Trainers on accessing him and his condition

13: Frizell comes off the field as a result of the injury to his leg. Play resumes with the Dragons and a little kick from Gareth Widdop gives them a repeat set through a line drop out.

15: Benji Marshall stabs a short grubber towards the posts on the last tackle and Matt Moylan races across and swoops on the ball to give the Panthers possession on their try line.

17: Tyson Frizell has an injury to his right ankle and will be back tonight for the Dragons, the Red V down to 16 players.

20: Forward pass denies the Dragons as pushed for the uprights. Scrum for the Panthers 10 metres out from their own try line.

21: Penalty to the Panthers as the Dragons jump too quickly off the line and get caught inside the 10 metres. Penrith kick for touch and attack on half way

22: VIDEO REFEREE for the Panthers, we have a TRY for Dean Whare. Looking at the grounding as he jumped and took a deflection off a last tackle kick.

23: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by Dean Whare. Kick to come.

Dean Whare is awarded his second four-pointer of the evening as he takes a tap back from Kevin Naiqama as Peter Wallace chipped to the corner.

24: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION PENRITH PANTHERS
Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.

Jamie Soward from the eastern sideline takes the paintwork of the posts and makes it a 12 point lead for the Panthers

26: Penalty to the Panthers against Will Matthews for holding down in the ruck. Panthers attack 15 metres out from the try line.

27: Obstruction holds back the Panthers attack as James Segeyaro ran a old-school shepherd with a double pump of the ball. Dragons let off the hook with the penalty.

29: UNFORCED ERROR PENRITH PANTHERS
Josh Mansour makes an unforced error.

Josh Mansour goes without the ball as he charged into the Dragons defence. Dragons in prime position to capitalise with a full set inside the Panthers 20 metre zone.

30: VIDEO REFEREE for the Dragons, we have NO TRY for Jason Nightingale as he bolted through off a little grubber from Benji Marshall on the 3rd tackle.

30: NO TRY for Jason Nightingale as he slid over the dead ball line before he managed to ground the ball, even so he failed to ground the ball. 20 metre tap for the Panthers as a result.

31: Third man in is called by the referee, James Segeyaro the player diving at the legs. Penalty given to the Dragons to see them attack 10 metres short of the half way line following a kick for touch.

33: UNFORCED ERROR PENRITH PANTHERS
Jamie Soward makes an unforced error.

Jamie Soward ruled to have played the at the ball as Benji Marshall aimed a grubber kick through the defensive line. Scrum for the Dragons 10 metres out from the Penrith try line.

34: Kevin Naiqama jumped up quickly to defuse a long pass as Charly Runciman looked to take the pass and sneak over in the corner. Scrum again packs for the Dragons, danger time for Penrith

35: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Charly Runciman. Kick to come.

The Dragons shift again on the left side of the Panthers again as Widdop links with Jason Nightingale and he provides the long pass again to Charly Runciman who now gets to sneak over in the corner.

36: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop unsuccessful.

Gareth Widdop from in front of the eastern grandstand fails to add the extras and the score remains

38: James Segeyaro running the block play not allowing Widdop to run through, Dragons attack inside the 10m zone of the Panthers

39: Benji Marshall's grubber kick on last tackle is too big and it beats everyone over the dead ball line. Zero tackle, 20m tap for the Panthers.

40: HALF TIME at Sportingbet Stadium sees the Penrith Panthers take an 8 point lead into the sheds over the Dragons

41: Second half is UNDERWAY as the Panthers kick us off

42: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Jason Nightingale. Kick to come.

Jason Nightingale sweeps around the back of the pack and the beautiful ball from Adam Quinlan puts him into a gap and the Dragons are in first in the second half

44: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop successful.

Gareth Widdop from the western sideline slots the extras to draw the gap to just 2 points.

46: ZERO TACKLE for the Dragons as the Panthers knock down their own kick. Dragons attack deep in their own half

47: UNFORCED ERROR PENRITH PANTHERS
Kevin Naiqama makes an unforced error.

Kevin Naiqama fumbles the ball as he looked to fight out of the tackle of Gerard Beale. Scrum for the Dragons 10 metres out from the Panthers try line.

50: Forward pass denies the Panthers their third try, Moylan jumping for a bomb and knocking it down forward. Dragons with possession 20 metres off their own line.

53: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by Josh Mansour. Kick to come.

Josh Mansour takes a brilliant pass from the fastest man over 40 metres in Jamie Soward to score the Panthers third four-pointer of the game. Great pace from Soward and Mansour!

55: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION PENRITH PANTHERS
Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.

Jamie Soward with the conversion guides it between the uprights and the Panthers take the lead back to 8 points.

56: Official crowd as been posted at 13,768

57: Charly Runciman is denied as he sailed down the sideline after taking a tapped forward pass from Gerard Beale. Scrum for the Panthers 20 metres short of the half way line.

60: UNFORCED ERROR PENRITH PANTHERS
James Segeyaro makes an unforced error.

James Segeyaro in true Nathan Merritt fashion has come up with a juggle of the ball as he looked to sail away under the posts. Mistake sees Dragons pack a scrum down just shy of half way

63: Penalty to the Panthers, Mike Cooper has cleaned Peter Wallace after kicking away on last tackle. Video Referee called on to look at the contact

63: Penalty sees the Panthers attack 15 metres out from the Dragons try line. Big defensive set for the Red V

64: That's Creagh from Jamie Soward! Great little kick from Jamie to earn a repeat set and trap him in goal.

66: Time off here with Jason Nightingale down in the with a possible knee injury.

68: Penalty awarded to the Dragons, unclear on the decision why but seems Naiqama held back Gareth Widdop as he attempted the chase through. Dragons attack deep in their own half.

69: Forward pass is called immediately as the Dragons shifted to the short left, Widdop linked with Joel Thompson and it's pulled back. Scrum for Penrith.

71: UNFORCED ERROR ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Benji Marshall makes an unforced error.

Benji Marshall reaching out for a long pass and it's dropped in his attempt, unable to juggle the ball back into his grip. Scrum for the Panthers just inside the Dragons half

72: Kevin Naiqama is forced over the sideline by some solid Dragons defence as Dean Whare provided him the short pass on the western side. Scrum for the Dragons 10 metres off their line.

74: Marshall having a horrible last few minutes, his pass is long and forward as he shifted to the open right of the ground. Scrum again for the Panthers.

76: Matt Moylan cleans up a rushed last tackle chip ahead from Charly Runciman and the Panthers have it deep in their own half.

77: One on one strip here as Matt Moylan had the ball stolen from him and the Dragons get a penalty for a slow release from the ruck. Dragons 10 metres out.

78: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Jason Nightingale. Kick to come.

Jason Nightingale gives the Dragons hope has he shifts down the sideline and dives over in the eastern corner.

78: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop unsuccessful.

Gareth Widdop with probably the quickest conversion attempt of the year is unsuccessful as he stabbed it from touch

79: Matt Moylan saves the day for the Panthers as Benji Marshall hopped, skipped and jumped looking to steal the game for the Dragons.

80: FULL TIME at Sportingbet Stadium sees the Panthers hold on to defeat the Dragons 18-14 in what ended as a heart racing affair.

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