A confident and solid performance by the Panthers side saw them defeat the visiting Newcastle side by 34 - 6 at the foot of the Blue Mountains.
Conditions seemed slippery for both sides with a lot of unforced errors.
The Panthers had the weight of possession right throughout the match, but the the halftime score of only 8-0 in favour of Penrith, it was not until the second half that the points really started to come.
Some great ball skills by the Penrith side had the crowd of just over 17,000 on their feet on numerous occasions. Stand out performances by Gower, Girdler, Campbell and Priddis certainly led to some terrific tries, coming off the back of some great possession by their forwards. Certainly a team effort.
The understrength Newcastle side battled their way through the game but in the second half the number of tackles they had to make finally took its toll. Experienced players like Simpson and Woolnough certainly led from the front for the younger players in the side, but were just outclassed on the night.
Scorers: Panthers 34 Tries: Lewis, Rooney 2, Priddis 2, Campbell, Whatuira Goals: Campbell (3/7) defeated Knights 6 Tries: K Gidley Goals: Abraham (1/1)
Friday 20 June 2003 7:30 PM Penrith Football Stadium Referee: Stephen Clark
Leagueunlimited players of the match:
3 - C Gower (Panthers) 2 - P Campbell (Panthers) 1 - L Priddis (Panthers)
By the clock:
Interesting match up with 5 Newcastle players out for Origin duty, and the Panthers rueing their loss to the Storm last weekend
0 min: KICK OFF!!
5th min: Messy start by both sides, with no advantage to either. 13C at the foot of the mountains for the packed house at Penrith Stadium
7th min: NEWS - Knights close to scoring, but Mander the video ref is called in, and Abraham was in touch before grounding the ball, after a great high kick by Kurt Gidley. Scrum to Penrith. 0-0
8th min: TRY - Lewis for Panthers. Lewis scores in the corner following some great go forward by the Penrith side. An earlier penalty following the Panthers scrum certainly helped them with field position. Campbell from the sideline, just misses the conversion. Panthers 4-0
11th min: NEWS - Panthers close to scoring again, but Rooney tapped the ball in field from a high kick after his foot touched the sideline
20th min: NEWS - Panthers looking the more settled side. O'Davis solid under the high ball Gower sent into orbit
21st min: NEWS - Campbell (Panthers) taken high 10 metres out from their line.
22nd min: TRY - Rooney for Panthers. Foregoing the 2 points, the Penrith side opt to run the ball. 2nd tackle, Campbell throws a cut out pass to Gilder who gets Rooney across the line. Campbell, once again from the sideline, but on the opposite side, kicks it wide and misses. Panthers 8-0
26th min: NEWS - Lang (Panthers) a doubtful starter for the game, due to bad flu like symptoms, lasted 25 mins, now having trouble breathing. He did well. Peter Lewis, formerly from the Auckland Warriors, makes his debut for the Panthers as a replacement for Lang. No change to the score at this stage, still 8-0 in favour of Penrith
34th min: NEWS - End to end stuff at the moment, both teams defence is holding well and forcing errors
HALF TIME: A slow end to the half with the home side ahead 8-0 at the break
STATS AT THE BREAK:
Penrith's completion rate is 20/26, Newcastle's 16/19. The Panthers have made 153 tackles, 98 hitups and 11 missed tackles. The Newcastle side have made 166 tackles, 78 hit ups and 19 missed tackles. Handling errors are 7 to the Panthers and 6 to the Knights. The Panthers have made 8 offloads and 3 line breaks whereas Newcastle have only made 2 offloads and no line breaks. Top tackler for the Panthers was Priddis with 23, Lang had made 10 hitups in the time he was in the field. Top tackler for Newcastle was Quigley with 22, top hitup O'Davis with 11. Penalties 6-3 to the Panthers.
45th min: NEWS - Solid start to the second half by the Panthers. Very close to scoring after a weight of possession, but the defence of Newcastle hang on
49th min: TRY - Priddis for Panthers. Possession has solely been with the Panthers since halftime and it was only a matter of time until they wore done the opposition. A great passing game especially from Campbell set up Priddis well to make for the line with 3 defenders hanging off him. Campbell from 16 metres in, finally gets a conversion. Panthers 14-0
54th min: TRY - Campbell for Panthers. Starting to cut up the defence, Gower breaks through the line, great pass to Galuvao, back to Gower, and onto a flying Campbell. Nice play. Campbell from right out in front, gets the conversion. Panthers 20-0
56th min: NEWS - Interchange 9/12 to Newcastle, 3/12 to Penrith
57th min: TRY - K Gidley for Knights. Great play by Abraham and Hughes to get Gidley in for an easy try. Panthers guilty of soft defence. Abraham converts the try. Panthers 20-6
62nd min: TRY - Priddis for Panthers. Priddis (pictured) started the move with a great dummy. Fine hands by the Panthers, especially Girdler who is playing very well. Priddis is there to finish what he started. Campbell from 15 metres in from touch, gets the conversion. Panthers 26-6
68th min: NEWS - Elford (Panthers) close to scoring but dropped the ball over the line. Newcastle defence definitely tiring. No interchange left for Newcastle. No change still 26-6 to Penrith
72nd min: TRY - Rooney for Panthers. Gower once gain cutting up the defensive line, spreading the ball out wide to his backs. Girdler flicks a lovely ball to the lanky Rooney who crosses out wide. Campbell from touch yet again, misses the kick. Panthers 30-6
80th min: TRY - Whatuira for Panthers. Lewis gets the ball after the Knights bomb a cut out pass. He flies for the line but is slowed by O'Davis but Whatuira is there in support and scores. Campbell misses the conversion. Panthers 34-6
FULL TIME: A deserved win to the Panthers after having the majority of ball in the match.