The Penrith Panthers have run away with the 2013 NYC Premiership, after holding out the New Zealand Warriors 42-30 at ANZ Stadium.
The Panthers got out to a strong lead in the first half, piling on 22 points to 6 before the break. This scoreline was despite the fact that halfback Daniel Foster left the field after only 15 minutes with a suspected fractured ankle.
First half injuries to Hukatai and Havili left the Warriors' bench low on bodies. The Warriors saw more injuries in the second half, with Faitala-Mariner having his arm wrenched back, however he was able to play on.
The second half started all Warriors, as they fought their way back into the game, getting to within ten points with 15 minutes to go. Panther's fans' hearts were set aflutter with 12 minutes remaining, when their fullback was sin binned for a professional foul.
However, the Panthers were next to score, and managed to put on another try and a penalty goal in the next 10 minutes, giving them the victory and premiership.
For the Panthers, Cartwright was involved in everything, both good and bad, and James Roberts was near unstoppable down the right wing. Faitala-Mariner was great for the Warriors, breaking tackles, but wasn't able to lift his team to get the win.
Penrith Panthers 42 New Zealand Warriors 30
Venue: Stadium Australia
Halftime Score: Penrith Panthers 22-6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Dallin Watene Zelezniak
2 points - Kierran Moseley
1 point - Bryce Cartwright
PENRITH PANTHERS (42)
Tries: James Taylor, James Roberts, Kieren Moss, George Jennings, Brendan Attwood, Mitchell Clark, Waqa Blake
Conversions: Bryce Cartwright (6/7)
Penalty Goals: Bryce Cartwright (1/1)
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (30)
Tries: Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Albert Vete, Eko Malu, Metia Lisati, Vili Lolohea
Conversions: Mason Lino (5/5)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Penrith Panthers: 1. Kieran Moss 2. Dallin Watene Zelezniak 3. Waqa Blake 4. James Roberts 5. George Jennings 6. Doug Hewitt 7. Daniel Foster (C) 8. Andy Saunders 9. Kieran Moseley 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Bryce Cartwright 12. James Dunley 13. Brendan Attwood
Interchange: 14. Mitch Clark 15. Tekina Vailea 16. Iain Riccardi 17. Isaah Yeo 18. Geordie Connelly
New Zealand Warriors: 1. David Fusitua 2. Metia Lisati 3. Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard 4. Ngataua Hukatai 5. Viliami Lolohea 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Mason Lino 8. Albert Vete 9. Siliva Havili 10. James Taylor 11. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 12. Michael Sio 13. David Bhana (c)
Interchange: 14. Eko Malu 15. Sam Lisone 16. Kouma Samson 17. Solomone Kata
The Warriors team come into this game after a big win against the Bulldogs. For the Panthers, Bryce Cartwright will be one to watch - NYC Player of the Year in 2013.
1 min: And we're underway - the Warriors have first use of the football, with Vete and Havili getting their team on the front foot early. Taylor takes a strong hit up on the 4th. The Warriors kick to the right corner, and the Panthers pick up the ball from near their own tryline.
2 min: A strong set from the Panthers, followed by a kick downfield, sees the Warriors needing to bring the ball out from their own 10m line. The Warriors seem to be making big metres off each run. On the last Lino puts up a cross-field bomb which is fielded by his winger, however they lose the ball shortly after.
3 min: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by James Taylor. Conversion attempt by Bryce Cartwright successful.
And from the scrum the the Panthers are away downfield, with James Roberts sprinting down the short side. He takes the ball, gets outside his defender and sprints down field - with too much pace for anyone to catch him. Bryce Cartwright lines up the kick from straight in front, and adds the extras.
Penrith Panthers 6-0
4 min: The Panthers have a strong set straight up after their try. They make the ball down into the Warriors' half, and then gain a penalty, so they'll start with a fresh set of 6 from 30m out.
5 min: Panthers looking for their second try - they're hot on attack only 1 metre out, but some strong Warriors defense keeps them out. The Warriors then strip the ball, and the Panthers get yet another fresh set.
6 min: Moseley goes himself from dummy-half, but is held up. And the Warriors concede yet another penalty. Panthers halfback Foster has injured his ankle in that tackle, and is still down getting treatment.
9 min: Panthers still on attack, so far the Warriors defense has held. On the last the Panthers kick a grubber in behind the line, but it's tidied up by the Warriors. Line drop out.
9 min: Another drop out from the Warriors after they accidentally touch a dribbling ball. The Warriors are let off the hook though, as the Panthers knock the ball on from the kick.
12 min: Warriors on attack now. They get within 10 metres of the tryline they are awarded a penalty.
12 min: TRY NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Scored by Raymond Faitala-Mariner. Conversion attempt by Mason Lino successful.
And on the next play the Warriors have scored - Faitala-Mariner crashes over the line, much too strong for the defenders. Lino has the kick from wide right of the posts, and it hits the post and goes over. We're all tied up.
14 min: Daniel Foster has left the field with his injured ankle, replaced by Isaah Yeo.
15 min: A penalty to the Panthers, with the Warriors ruled offside at the play the ball. Some nice inside balls so far from Doug Hewitt, finding an attacker in space the past two times he's tried it.
15 min: Possible try to the Panthers here. The referee has gone upstairs to the video referee about a knock on. It's a no try. Cartwright takes the ball to the line on the last, and stretches out, but loses it over the line.
18 min: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by James Roberts. Conversion attempt by Bryce Cartwright successful.
Two sets later, James Roberts scores another try. Some slick broken field running by the Panthers' speedy outside backs sees the Panthers move 70m down field in one play, finishing with James Roberts somersaulting over the line on the left of field. Cartwright falls over kicking the goal, but still converts the try.
Penrith Panthers 12-6
20 min: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by Kieren Moss. Conversion attempt by Bryce Cartwright successful.
On the next set it's another line break and try from the Panthers! George Jennings uses his strength and speed and makes a massive run down field, before finding the fullback Kieren Moss, who crosses to score. Cartwright lines up the kick from straight in front, and makes no mistake. The Panthers extend their lead.
Penrith Panthers 18-6
23 min: Flimsy defense sees the Panthers make another line break in the next set, this time through their prop. He attempts to throw the ball to Roberts again, but it goes over his shoulder and to ground.
24 min: Faitala-Mariner makes a half break, before offloading just as he is dragged to ground. On the last, a loose pass winds up in the Panthers hands, and they head down field.
25 min: Almost another try to the Panthers here - a kick over the top gets a miraculous bounce for the Panthers, however they can't capitalise and knock the ball on.
26 min: Penalty to the Warriors now, and this will be their best chance at an attacking set. They kick for touch, and take the tap from 40 metres out.
27 min: Some quick passing from the Warriors, not a lot of accuracy with their passing, just flicking the ball out and hoping for the best, but eventually Faitala-Mariner knocks the ball on. The scrum packs 10m out from the Panther's line.
27 min: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by George Jennings. Conversion attempt by Bryce Cartwright unsuccessful.
Another try to the Panthers now - George Jennings on the end of some beautiful play. A brilliant flat pass from Dunley cuts out his centre, and hits Jennings on the chest. He crashes over the line in the corner, and sets Cartwright a difficult task for the kick. Cartwright pushes the kick wide.
Penrith Panthers 22-6
32 min: The Panthers make another break down the right side of the field this time. On the last, Hewitt stands slightly deeper, ready to take the kick, but Lino is up in his face and cuts him down in a great tackle.
32 min: Hukatai is injured for the Warriors - he attempts to hold the ball up for an offload as he heads to ground, but has hurt his right shoulder. He's helped from the field, replaced by Solomone Kata.
34 min: Last tackle for the Panthers, Hewitt kicks in behind the line, but Lisati is up to the task, reaching high and taking the ball above his head, before getting outside the in goal area.
34 min: Havili is injured now - play is stopped while he receives some attention. He's back on his feet, but looks a little dusty.
35 min: Cartwright throws a cut-out ball now, hitting his outside man on the chest, before regathering after an offload. On the last the Panthers kick toward the posts, and the Warriors almost make a mess of it. But they eventually clean it up.
37 min: Cartwright makes a silly mistake now, running across field from a scrum, and attempting to flick a pass - instead he throws a nothing ball and the Panthers knock on. Warriors will get a good attacking opportunity now.
37 min: But only 2 tackles later the Warriors knock the ball on. Cartwright cleans the ball up, and is picked up and slammed onto his back.
39 min: Cartwright again runs to the tryline on the last, attempting to crash over the defenders, but loses the ball forward again.
40 min: Half time here, and it's been all Panthers so far in the first half. Some classic NYC attacking plays and classic NYC flimsy defense, sees the Panthers go to the break leading 22 points to 6.
40 min: Back underway in the second half - Penrith working away from their own tryline. Zelezniak makes a strong hit up to take some work off his forwards. Cartwright chips over the defensive line, but the Warriors are up to the task.
41 min: Warriors have shown their hand early in this half, looking to keep the ball alive and send it around the outside of the well-set centre defense.
42 min: Warriors penalised for a strip, and Cartwright will kick for touch. Panthers have the tap from the 40m line.
43 min: Another inside ball from Hewitt hits Vailea, and he makes some good ground. On the last Moseley puts in a little grubber and earns his team a second attacking set.
43 min: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by Brendan Attwood. Conversion attempt by Bryce Cartwright successful.
Panthers take first points in the second half through Brendan Attwood. Cartwright added the additional two points.
Penrith Panthers 28-6
45 min: Off the kickoff, the Warriors kick too close to the sideline, and the winger catches it with one foot over the sideline.
46 min: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by Mitchell Clark. Conversion attempt by Bryce Cartwright successful.
Not 3 plays later, Mitchell Clark muscles his way over the tryline under the posts, and the Panthers further extend their lead. This game is turning into a blowout. Cartwright puts the ball straight over the black dot.
Penrith Panthers 34-6
48 min: Cartwright tries another chip on the last, but the Warriors clean it up through their fullback. The Warriors player looks to have collected an accidental knee in the side as he fell to ground, and seems in a fair bit of pain. He's leaving the field.
48 min: The Warriors get a penalty for a high tackle now. Isaah Yeo has been placed on report.
51 min: TRY NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Scored by Albert Vete. Conversion attempt by Mason Lino successful.
The Warriors hit back with a try now - Vete running at a much smaller defender from only a few metres out - pretty difficult to stop. Lino lines up the kick from just left of the posts, and adds an extra 2 points.
Penrith Panthers 34-12
52 min: Another injury, Faitala-Mariner has his arm wrenched backwards in the tackle. The Panthers are penalised for working the arm in the tackle, but on video replay it looked as though Faitala-Mariner had the Panther's defender by the jersey.
52 min: Warriors only 10 metres out now, Lino goes back inside to Bhana, and he almost makes it to the line. On the last they kick and it rebounds off a Panthers player. The Warriors pick it up, and have another kick, this time grubbering left. The Panthers grab it, and get themselves out of trouble.
54 min: At the end of the set, Cartwright puts the ball out on the full from a terrible kick.
55 min: Warriors get another penalty here, as the Panthers get penalised for a hand in the play-the-ball. The Warriors are getting a good run of possession.
56 min: The Panthers get another penalty now, this time as Cartwright puts a shoulder charge on the Warriors player.
57 min: Warriors send the ball right now, before switching it back to the left. A try looked certain on the left of the field, but the Panthers player managed to get his arm to the ball and knock the pass down. Six again for the Warriors.
57 min: The Warriors look to have scored here, but we're going to the video referee. The Warriors look confident, but the referees want to look at the grounding and a possible early tackle.
57 min: And it's not a try - Lino is ruled to have dropped the ball, but the Panthers are penalised for an early tackle.
58 min: TRY NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Scored by Eko Malu. Conversion attempt by Mason Lino successful.
But in the next set the Warriors score. Malu takes the ball from dummy half and crashes over the line. Lino converts the try.
Penrith Panthers 34-18
60 min: Another long break down the right hand side of the field from the Warriors. On the last, 20 metres out and Lolohea kicks into the in-goal, and the Panthers dive on the ball. Line drop out.
60 min: The drop out goes 50 metres, and Veta takes the ball back hard, making 13 metres from the hitup. The Warriors are 5 metres out from the Panther's line.
62 min: The Warriors have spent a lot of time in the Panthers red zone so far in this half.
64 min: TRY NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Scored by Metia Lisati. Conversion attempt by Mason Lino successful.
The Warriors look to have scored here. We're going to the Video Referee - Lisati dives over the line after a brilliant offload from his inside man. Lino lines up for the conversion from the right side of the field, and kicks the goal.
Penrith Panthers 34-24
66 min: The Panthers have done a lot of tackling for the past 25 minutes, and look tired in attack. They still lead by ten, but the way the Warriors are scoring they are not out of the woods.
68 min: The Warriors get another penalty now, and Kieren Moss is sent to the sin bin for running straight back through the ruck. It's a professional foul, and the Panthers must defend with only 12 men for the next ten minutes.
70 min: TRY NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Scored by Vili Lolohea. Conversion attempt by Mason Lino successful.
A 20m cut out ball from Tuimoala Lolohea hits Vili Lolohea on the chest on the sideline. He runs the 5 metres in open space, and dots down in the corner. The referees go to the video referee, but the try is awarded. Lino attempts the kick from the left Sideline, and it's perfect - right over the middle of the posts.
Penrith Panthers 34-30
70 min: We've got a great finish on our hands here. Based on the past 30 minutes it looks like the Warriors will steal the game, but the Panthers will be doing their utmost to prevent that.
71 min: A forward pass from the Warriors gives the Panthers a bit of a break. They head toward the tryline, and Zelezniak almost carries three defenders over the line. On the last, Moseley puts a grubber in behind the line, but the Panthers knock the ball on over the line.
73 min: Warriors get the ball now, and work their way down field. They've made 50 metres from the set, but come up with a nothing kick at the end of the set, pushing the ball over the sideline.
73 min: From the resulting scrum, the Warriors manage to push the Panthers off the ball, but they knock the ball on at the back of the scrum. Zelezniak almost makes a break, but is dragged to ground. Next play, and Roberts sprints down the right sideline, but is pulled down in a great tackle.
77 min: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by Waqa Blake. Conversion attempt by Bryce Cartwright successful.
The Panthers send the ball left where they have the overlap, and Waqa Blake uses his speed and power to cut back inside and score a try. That may just be enough to put the Warriors to bed. Cartright converts, and we're back to a ten point gap.
Penrith Panthers 40-30
78 min: SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL PENRITH PANTHERS
Penalty goal attempt by Bryce Cartwright successful.
Penalty to the Panthers for a strip, and they'll take the penalty goal from 10 metres out and just left of the posts.
Penrith Panthers 42-30
78 min: Just a minute or so left in the game now. The Warriors attempt their second short kick off in a row, and again it fails to travel 10 metres.
80 min: And some tempers boiling over now. But it doesn't matter. It's full time, and the Panthers have held on to win the title, 42 points to 30. It was a valiant second half from the Warriors, but in the end, they'd just given up too much of a lead to the men from Penrith.