Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Penrith have ended their disappointing campaign in the best way possible, running up a cricket score against the hapless Newcastle Knights to finish 54-10 winners in the last NRL game of the 2019 regular season.
The first 25 minutes saw both sides playing very well in defence, but with the ball in hand they were sloppy and ill-disciplined.
The only try in this period came in the 20th minute against the run of play when Knights debutant Starford Toa took an intercept and raced 65 metres down the sideline to score a good try. Mason Lino failed to convert from touch.
In the 25th minute Penrith hit back when Nathan Cleary took on the line, stepped inside Kalyn Ponga and dived over for a try near the posts. Cleary converted to give Penrith the lead.
After receiving back-to-back penalties, Penrith crossed again when Brian To'o with a powerful, barnstorming run, stepped inside 3 defenders coming back against the grain and then defied the attempts of 4 tacklers to get across the stripe for a try. Cleary converts.
In the 37th minute Cleary received the ball at second receiver, brushed off one defender, then stepped past Ponga again to score beside the posts. He converted his own try.
The Knights needed to score first in the second half and did just that in the 44th minute. On the first hit up off a penalty tap, Herman Ese'Ese barges through a tackle, reached out and planted the ball on the line for a strong try. Lino converted to reduce the deficit to 8.
Just five minutes later the Panthers replied when Jarome Luai's kick across the field found Billy Burns, who then fell over the line for a try. Cleary converted.
In the first set from the restart, Cleary's kick was charged down but the Panthers regathered. Penrith then made a break down the left through Burns, who then passed to Viliame Kikau down the wing. Kikau tiptoed down the sideline, avoided going into touch despite two tackle attempts, then casually flicked a pass behind his back, which found Egan perfectly and he strolled over for an easy try. Cleary converted.
In the 57th minute, Stephen Crichton made a break down the right side but was tackled by Connor Watson. Watson though held Crichton down too long was given ten minutes in the bin. Penrith then went on a ten minute party.
In the 58th minute, Moses Leota received a nice short ball close to the line and walked through a big gap to score under the sticks. Cleary converted.
In the 61st minute, Cleary bagged a hat trick of tries when he received a pass off the back of a good offload close to the line, dummied and then darted through a gap to dive over on the left side. Cleary converted.
In the 64th minute, Luai stepped inside the broken defensive line, sends a great ball to Wayde Egan who then drew and passed to Burns who raced away to score under the posts. Cleary again converted.
In the 67th minute, James Tamou made a bust through the middle before passing to his right to Cleary and the halfback raced away to score his fourth try of the game. He then converted his try to bring up 34 points for the game and Penrith's half century.
Penrith Panthers 54 - Newcastle Knights 10
Venue: Panthers Stadium
Halftime Score: Penrith Panthers 18 Newcastle Knights 4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Nathan Cleary
2 points - Reagan Campbell-Gillard
1 points - James Fisher-Harris
PENRITH PANTHERS (54)
Tries: Nathan Cleary (4), Brian To'o, Billy Burns (2), Wayde Egan, Moses Leota
Conversions: Nathan Cleary (9/9)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (10)
Tries: Starford Toa, Herman Ese'ese
Conversions: Mason Lino (1/2)