Panthers wound Raiders finals hopes

The Penrith Panthers have effectively ended the semi-final aspirations of the Raiders with a 27-14 victory over the from the nations capital at CUA Stadium tonight. The Panthers outscored the visitors 4 tries to 3 in what was often a scrappy game.

A crowd of just over 8000 turned out to watch this clash between two teams struggling to find some kind of form. The Raiders slim chances of making the top eight were dependant on victory tonight, the injury ravaged Panthers needed to consolidate its position in the eight with a victory. This was always going to be a desperate battle and it certainly seemed that way from the onset.

The Panthers started better than their opponents, with Frank Puletua putting the home side on the board after only 6 minutes. Twelve minutes later the Panthers scored again, showing up some ordinary defence on the Raiders fringes with winger Junior Tia-Kalifi scoring wide from a simple sweeping movement that saw Origin centre Michael Jennings get outside his man to put the young winger over in the corner. The Raiders tried valiantly to hit back, and it was only for the ball hitting the padding on the goal posts that prevented Joel Monaghan getting the visitors on the board. The change of ball direction causing him to knock on over the line.

The turning point in the match came in the 34th minute, with the Raiders on the attack deep inside Panthers territory. Raiders five-eighth Terry Campese put in a chip over the top, which was regathered by the Raiders. The ball came off Josh Dugan and was ruled to have gone backwards by Referee Jason Robinson, as he restarted the tackle count. Raiders winger Daniel Vidot planted the ball down in the corner but referee Robinson asked video referee Russell Smith to check for a knock on. Various replay angles proved inconclusive but Smith ruled as a no try, much to the dismay of the Raiders. They never really recovered, conceding a try in the last minute of the half leaving them 18-0 at the break.

The second half started with the Panthers shutting up shop and trying to protect their lead. The Raiders played some entertaining football trying to claw their way into the game. It paid off in the 50th minute when Campese caught them napping from dummy half. The Panthers took advantage of some poor discipline from the raiders to extend their lead with a penalty goal minutes later. The Raiders then hit back with another try to winger Vidot, on the back of some slick passing.

The Raiders needed to be next to score to stay in this dour struggle. Unfortunately it didnt go to plan with hulking Panthers back rower Joseph Paulo pouncing on a batted back bomb to barge over beside the post. With a 16 point deficit, the Raiders threw caution to the wind and caught the Panthers out when centre Jarrod Croker scored with some handy foot work near the line. Panthers half back Luke Walsh snuffed out any chance of a come back with a field goal with less than 7 minutes remaining. The final score of 27-14 ending the season for the Raiders, and giving the Panthers some breathing space in the bottom half of the eight.

Match Details Penrith Panthers 27 def Canberra Raiders 14
Round 19 - Saturday July 18th, 2009 05:30pm Venue: CUA Stadium, Penrith Referee: Jason Robinson & Gerard Sutton
Sideline Officials: Russell Turner & Peter Kirby
Video Referee: Russell Smith Crowd: 8,074 Halftime: Panthers 18-0

Penrith Panthers 27
Tries: Frank Puletua, Junior Tia-Kilifi, Brad Tighe, Joseph Paulo
Field Goals: Luke Walsh (1/1)
Goals: Michael Gordon (5/5)
Canberra Raiders 14
Tries: Terry Campese, Daniel Vidot, Jarrod Croker
Goals: Terry Campese (1/3)

LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Luke Walsh (Panthers) 2 Points: Frank Puletua (Panthers) 1 Point: Josh Dugan (Raiders)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Talk about the game as it happens - Panthers v Raiders forum discussion - click here!

PANTHERS: 1. Jarrod Sammut 2. Junior Tia-Kilifi 3. Michael Jennings 4. Brad Tighe 5. Michael Gordon 6. Wade Graham 7. Luke Walsh 8. Frank Puletua 9. Paul Aiton 10. Matthew Bell 11. Trent Waterhouse 12. Gavin Cooper 13. Nathan Smith (c) Interchange: 14. Adam Woolnough 15. Tim Grant 16. Joseph Paulo 17. Maurice Blair; Reserves: 18. Geoff Daniela 19. Joel Romelo RAIDERS:1. Phil Graham 2. Daniel Vidot 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joel Monaghan 5. Adrian Purtell 6. Terry Campese 7. Marc Herbert 8. Dane Tilse 9. Glen Buttriss 10. Troy Thompson 11. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs 12. Bronson Harrison 13. Alan Tongue (C) Interchange: 14. Joel Thompson 15. Nigel Plum 16. Josh Miller 17. David Shillington; Reserves: 18. Glen Turner 19. Joe Picker

Welcome to CUA. Decent crowd building up in what is a cold night at the foot of the Blue Mountains.

Changes to the teams are as follows. Josh Dugan in 20 comes on to the wing for Adrian Purtell. Buttriss will start of the bench. Panthers have Maurice Blair starting at 5/8 and Wade Graham starts off the bench.

Kick Off Shortly!

1 min: Panthers kick off. Raiders running north in the first half.

2 min: FORWARD PASS - Panthers attacking raid thwarted by a forward pass call. Looked like Jennings would have got away from his man.

3 min: PENALTY - Raiders line break called back for an obstruction penalty.

6 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Panthers Try. Putleua crashed over but the fullback does a great job at keeping the ball off the ground for a while but he gets it down eventually. Russell Smith is judge jury and executioner.

6 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Panthers opened the Raiders up on the right hand side. They struggled to regroup and and Frank Puletua hits a hole to get under the posts. Panthers given the benefit of the doubt. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 6-0

12 min: Panthers make a mistake on their own line to give the Raiders the ball. The Raiders get a repeat set from a penalty but cant seem to break the Panthers line. They looked disorganised.

14 min: Repeat set for Panthers. They got a piggy back penalty and on the last they grubber into the in goal.Dugan is caught in goal.

16 min: Panthers raid ends with a grubber than goes over the dead ball line. Panthers are playing conservative football.

18 min: PENALTY Panthers get a penalty to launch another attacking raid on the Raiders.

18 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Try to Panthers Video Ref checking obstruction.

18 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Tia-Kalifi scores in the corner untouched. Panthers put on a simple backline movement that ends with Jennings giving the simplest of passes to the winger who strolled in. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 12-0

21 min: 40/20 - Luke Walsh catches the Raiders napping with a great kick on the last

22 min: Walsh undoes his great kick with a dropped ball early in the tackle count. He had a bo peep and dropped a sitter.

25 min: Video Ref. Raiders put in a kick on the last and Monaghan drops the ball as he is collecting it.

25 min: NO TRY. Raiders knock on. Panthers 10m restart.

26 min: Raiders kick charged down by the Panthers and Dugan wins a foot race to the ball only 10 out from his line.

29 min: Blair grubbers into the in goal. Dugan collects the ball but doesnt make the field of play. Panthers on the attack again.

30 min: Its Walsh this time putting a well weight grubber that forces Dugan to make a play at the ball. Another drop out. Panthers make an early error letting the Panthers off the hook. Then go on to concede a penalty putting the Raiders in the Panthers red zone.

33 min: Raiders try a cross field kick on the last. Batted back by the Raiders and Croker tries a scissor kick bomb which goes out on the full.

34 min: VIDEO REF - Chip over the top regathered by the Raiders. Referee calls play on and the Raiders score wide. The ref then changes his mind and asks the video ref to check it.

35 min: NO TRY - Referee Robinson called 6 again and was happy to make that decision. When the try is scored it goes to the video ref who then decides on inconclusive evidence to deny the Raiders a Try.

39 min: Tia-Kalifi is on the end of a Sammut half break. Josh Dugan makes a Try Saver on his line and forces the ball out of Tia Kalifis hands for a knock on.

40 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Wade Graham slices the Raiders up the middle, he finds Tighe in support who cruises over the line to score under the black dot. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 18-0

HALF TIME - A late try to the Panthers has knocked the wind out of the Raiders. Penrith seem to be playing within themselves and taking advantage of the mistakes that the Raiders make. The Raiders on the other hand have looked directionless and a little lethargic. They need someone to garb the game by the neck and lead them around. Can they come back?? We will find out shortly...

41 min: Kick Off

44 min: Josh Miller loses the ball early in the tackle count to give the Panthers great field position.

45 min: Panthers get another set after a deft little grubber is fielded by Campese who is taken over the dead ball line.

46 min: Raiders lose the ball working off their own line. Panthers on the attack. Early grubber is batted over the dead ball line by the Raiders. Another repeat set.

48 min: Another grubber by the Panthers but this one is allowed to go over the dead ball line by the Raiders.

50 min: TRY Canberra Raiders Campese barges his way over from Dummy Half. Bronson Harrison was pulled down just short and Campese caught them napping Conversion attempt by Terry Campese successful. Penrith Panthers 18-6

53 min: PENALTY GOAL Penrith Panthers Panthers get a Penalty for back chat after a Raiders knock on. They opt for the 2. Penrith Panthers 20-6

55 min: Raiders get the ball from a Panthers lost ball after another repeat set. They also lose the ball but referee Sutton says No advantage despite the ball going through 4 sets of hands.

58 min: Game is getting scrappy. Both teams are losing a lot of ball. This time its the Raiders with the opportunity.

59 min: TRY Canberra Raiders Raiders put on a sweeping backline movement. They spread the ball out wide through Campese and Herbert to the Winger Vidot who touches down in the corner. Conversion attempt by Terry Campese unsuccessful. Penrith Panthers 20-10

61 min: Raiders drop the ball again on the first set after the try. Panthers on the attack.

63 min: TRY Penrith Panthers A Panthers bomb is batted back to Paulo who barges over the line to score next to the uprights. Looks like good night for the Raiders both for the game and the season Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful. Penrith Panthers 26-10

65 min: Raiders get a late penalty to put them deep into Panthers territory.

67 min: A well weighted Campese grubber is pushed dead by Jennings. Raiders repeat set and they need it.

68 min: Raiders knock on after the desperate football turns ugly. The Raiders still look dishevelled and dont seem to know who is running their plays.

70 min: TRY Canberra Raiders The Raiders swing the ball across the backline to the left. Croker steps inside Sammut to score in the corner. Raiders have some hope, very little but some. Conversion attempt by Terry Campese unsuccessful. Penrith Panthers 26-14

73 min: Raiders put on a running play on the last which ends in the pass going over the sideline.

75 min: FIELD GOAL Penrith Panthers Luke Walsh rubs salt into the wounds. 13 in front now and the fat lady has sung, packed her stuff and is in the car on her way home. Penrith Panthers 27-14

77 min: Jarrod Sammut is dragged down from behind when he look certain to score. He was on the end of a great passing movement that involved forwards and backs. He knocked as a result of the tackle.

78 min: Dugan makes a break down the sideline and chased down and taken over the sideline by Maurice Blair.

80 min: The Raiders get a penalty with just 10 seconds remaining. The play ends the same as it has all night with a Raiders mistake. Raiders gone for the season.

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