Wests Tigers too good in Penrith thriller

Wests Tigers have come away with a hard earned 25-24 victory over the Penrith Panthers at CUA Stadium today.

It was Wests Tigers sixth consecutive win and sees them back in the top four.

It was a gutsy effort from the Panthers, coming back from 25-12 deficit following the loss of fullback Rhys Wesser who was forced from the field in the 64th minute. This was componded by the loss of winger Michael Gordon and forward Frank Pritchard as the Panthers appeared to be running out troops at the back end of proceedings.

But an earlier field goal, from Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah just before the half time break, ultimately secured a rare victory for the visitors in Penrith.

Played in magnificent sunshine in Sydney's west, it was the Panthers who struck first in the 21st minute through forward Frank Puletua.

Wests Tigers hit back in the 32nd minute with five eighth Liam Fulton capitalising following a high kick, Fulton leaping well to get over the top of opposing five eighth Peter Wallace.

Wests Tigers went further ahead two minutes later with winger Daniel Fitzhenry finishing a tremendous 50 metre break.

Farah slotted a one-pointer right in the stroke of half time, in would ultimately prove to be the killer blow.

At half time, the visitors led 13-6.

The Panthers surged back into contention soon after the break with winger Michael Gordon scoring out wide in the 44th minute. Gordon converted his own try from the sideline and the home side were trailing by one point.

Wests Tigers appeared to put the match beyond doubt with tries to Chris Lawrence (54th minute) and Ben Galea (60th minute). With the Panthers depleted, and trailing 25-12, things were looking ominous for the home side.

But Penrith didn't throw in the towel. With a packed house cheering them on, the Panthers turned on the pressure with Geoff Daniela scoring under the posts in the 74th minute.

Panthers winger Nick Youngquest scored out wide in the final minute of play. With time against them and trailing by three points, Penrith looked for a time out and appeared to be declining to take the kick. Following a mix up, Peter Wallace finally made the hurried attempt from the sideline, successfully adding the extras with the full time hooter sounding soon after.

Match Scores Round 11 - Full Time :: May 27th, 2007 03:00 PM Venue: CUA Stadium Referee: Jared Maxwell

Penrith Panthers 24 Tries: Frank Puletua, Michael Gordon, Geoff Daniela, Nick Youngquest Goals: Michael Gordon (2/2), Peter Wallace (2/2) Wests Tigers 25 Tries: Liam Fulton, Daniel Fitzhenry, Chris Lawrence, Ben Galea Field Goals: Robbie Farah (1/1) Goals: Brett Hodgson (4/4)

Half time: Wests Tigers 13-6

LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Paul Whatuira (Wests Tigers) 2 Points: Brett Hodgson (Wests Tigers) 1 Point: Joel Clinton (Panthers)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Big crowd and a sunny day in Penrith.

Team changes: West Tigers as per the card. For Penrith, centre Luke Lewis is out injured and is replaced in the centres by lock Nathan Smith. Junior Moors comes off the bench into lock while Geoff Daniela has been named in the 17.

Kick off! Wests Tigers have first use of the ball.

5 min: ON REPORT Frank Pritchard (Panthers) for a dangerous tackle.

10 min: Still 0-0. A bit of an arm wrestle with Wests Tigers losing possession cheaply a couple of times.

12 min: Wests Tigers make a bust and Dean Collis comes close to scoring, full back Rhys Wesser saving the Panthers with a great covering tackle.

15 min: Still 0-0. Panthers come within a whsiker of scoring with centre Michael Jennings just falling short and then hooker Luke Priddis almost charging over on the last tackle.

17 min: Another close call with Wests Tigers attacking, centre Paul Whatuira passes to winger Taniela Tuiaki but its too difficult to take and a chance goes begging.

18 min: Wests Tigers again and lock Dene Halatau drops the ball with the line wide open. Penrith off the hook.

21 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Frank Puletua forces the ball after Luke Priddis catches the defence napping with a neat kick. Survives video ref scrutiny. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful from right in front. Penrith Panthers 6-0

26 min: Winger Nick Youngquest is away and racing for the Panthers but the play is called back for a foward pass on half way.

27 min: Wests Tigers counter attack through Whatuira who makes a bust and and attempts to set up his left winger. Whatuira then chances his arm and comes close. Some problems for the Panthers on their right side defence.

32 min: TRY Wests Tigers Five eighth Liam Fulton snatches the ball after leaping to well placed bomb. Fulton beats his opposite Peter Wallace to the ball. Conversion attempt by Brett Hodgson successful from in front. 6 all

34 min: TRY Wests Tigers Daniel Fitzhenry makes a tremendous 50m break to score following a pass from Collis on the right side. Conversion attempt by Brett Hodgson successful. Wests Tigers 12-6

40 min: FIELD GOAL Wests Tigers Robbie Farah pots a one-pointer on the stroke of half time. Wests Tigers 13-6

Half time: Tigers 13-6

Wests Tigers looking like they have more to offer in attack and that may be the difference in the end. Panthers having trouble defending wide of the ruck. Penrith aren't out of it but they have some work to do. News from the sheds is that Priddis is getting stitches following a cut.

Second half underway...

44 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Wonderful team try with winger Michael Gordon out stepping the last line of defence at pace. Michael Jennings, Peter Wallace and Rhys Wesser all getting involved in the lead up. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful from the sideline! Wests Tigers 13-12

48 min: ON REPORT Michael Gordon (Panthers) on report for a dangerous tackle.

54 min: TRY Wests Tigers Rookie back Chris Lawrence scores a try on very narrow left side. Follows great movement from Wests Tigers with full back Brett Hodgson coming close only to be ankle tapped by front rower Joel Clinton. But Panthers defence looking shot and the Tiges capitalise. Sideline conversion attempt by Brett Hodgson is a ripper. Wests Tigers 19-12

60 min: TRY Wests Tigers Back rower Ben Galea scores in good position after being set up brilliantly by Hodgson. Tigers looking hard to stop now. Conversion attempt by Brett Hodgson successful. Wests Tigers 25-12

64 min: Panthers full back Rhys Wesser forced off with might be a hamstring injury.

66 min: Both Gordon and Pritchard for the Panthers are forced off with injury.

70 min: Opportunities for both sides with Wests Tigers being called back for a knock on and the Panthers coming close at the other end before Wests Tigers knock the ball dead. Panthers again on the attack but the ball goes to ground.

73 min: Panthers on the attack, Youngquest looks likely to score if not for a try saver from Clinton. A double knock-on follows and Penrith are still in possession.

74 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Geoff Daniela scores under the posts following sustained pressure from the Panthers. Conversion attempt by Peter Wallace successful. Wests Tigers 25-18

77 min: Another attacking raid from the Panthers but Wests Tigers bundle the ball carrier into touch and its all over red rover.

79 min: TRY Penrith Panthers Nick Youngquest bursts down the sideline to score a tremendous try. With time all but gone, Penrith then attempt to decline to take the shot at goal, but following protests from Wests Tigers players, Peter Wallace is forced to take the shot from the sideline... and is successful following a hurried attempt. But it eats up the few precious seconds left and there's barely enough time for the restart. Conversion attempt by Peter Wallace successful. Wests Tigers 25-24

Fulltime: Tigers 25-24

Wests Tigers win, the Robbie Farah field goal just before half time being the difference. But they come away deserving winners. A gutsy effort from the Panthers.