The Penrith Panthers have beaten the North Queensland Cowboys 22-10 in what was a tight match for the full 80 minutes at Panthers Stadium on Sunday.
The Panthers were first to score, with Jerome Luai crossing the line following a Stephen Crichton tap back off a kick. The Cowboys were able to knuckle down after that early mishap though, not conceding another point during the first half. Poor discipline and errors didn't really allow for any team to build consistent pressure, making the game very back and forth.
Five minutes before half time, a brilliant individual effort from Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow saw him break the Penrith line, using his speed and fend to score in the corner. The scores were level at half time at 4 points a piece.
Only a couple of minutes into the second half and Cowboys debutant Daejarn Asi crossed the line after showing us a brilliant burst of speed off the mark. Penrith were able to reply through a slick move by Nathan Cleary which saw Brent Naden score out wide and following the conversion from Cleary, scores were locked again at 10-all.
An offload from Tyrone May saw Stephen Crichton score, taking the Panthers back into the lead. The Cowboys fought hard to the end but were unable to come up with the crucial points to level the game and send it into golden point. A late nathan Cleary try pushed the scoreline further in Penrith's favour, making the final score 22-10.
After the game, Penrith leap frog Parramatta for top spot on the premiership ladder at the halfway point of the season. Nathan Cleary was outstanding again and is really making the Panthers team his own this season. Api Koroisau was his usual busy self and was good again.
For the Cowboys, a much improved performance which saw them really take it to the now competition leaders. Rookie Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow was especially good for them and there are some more positives with Daejarn Asi impressing in his first-grade debut.
Next week, Penrith take on strugglers Gold Coast Titans at Robina, with the Cowboys hosting Manly in Townsville.