The old clich�, a game of two halves, came to the fore today at Penrith Football Stadium when the Roosters defeated the Panthers by 38-24.
With what looked to be a whitewash at halftime when the Roosters held the lead by 26-0, full credit to the Panthers who gathered back a bit of pride in second half to post a more respectable score.
An almost perfect first half by the Sydney Roosters set the stage for a great win.
Former Penrith player, Fittler, had an outstanding match, and it was no surprise when he went to the sideline with a slight knock, that Penrith scored two quick tries and looked set to make the greatest comeback of the year. Understandably Fittler was put back on and settled the game by scoring a try and helped to put the game out of the Panthers desperate grasp.
The Panthers have lost only their 2nd game in 15 rounds and have shown their critics they can fight back if required. Unfortunately for them today, the Roosters were right on their game and showed their class that won them the Grand Final last year.
Scorers: PANTHERS 24 Tries: Campbell 2, Whatuira, Girdler, Goals: Girdler (4/4)
ROOSTERS 38 Tries: Fittler 2, Payten, Flannery, Walker, Crocker Goals: Crocker (6/7)
Sunday 27 July 2003 3:00 PM Penrith Football Stadium Referee: Tim Mander Crowd: 22,227
Leagueunlimited players of the match:
3 - M Crocker (Roosters) 2 - B Fittler (Roosters) 1 - S Sattler (Panthers)
As expected the crowd is huge and vocal at Penrith Football Stadium for this top match, on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
0 min: KICK OFF!
5th min: NEWS - Tentative start by both sides just showing the respect these two teams have for each other.
11th min: PENALTY GOAL - Crocker for Roosters. Penrith doing a lot of defencive work but holding out the Roosters well. Gower (Panthers) puts the ball out on the full giving possession to the Roosters on the 40 metre mark. Panthers penalised for holding down too long in the tackle, and Crocker makes short work of the 2 points. Roosters 2-0
14th min: TRY - Fittler for Roosters. Quick plays and offloading by the Roosters sets up play for the fifth tackle close to the line. A great pass from dummy half and Fittler comes crashing over for the try. Crocker from 18 metres out, gets the conversion. Roosters 8-0
20th min: NEWS - Play mainly in the Roosters half. The Penrith side making a load of tackles, and the Roosters making a lot of ground at times
22nd min: TRY - Payten for Roosters. The Panthers players starting to fall off tackles. Payten seemingly looking to pass, crashes to the ground and scores. Crocker has no trouble with the conversion from out in front. Roosters 14-0
27th min: TRY - Flannery for Roosters. A high kick for the Roosters is not sewn up by the Panthers gives possession back to the Roosters 20 metres out from their line. A steady set, Flannery chips on the fifth tackle, regathers and scores. Crocker from 15 metres out, misses his first kick. Roosters 18-0
32nd min: TRY - Walker for Roosters. A bad bounce for Rooney (Panthers) on their fifth tackle, and Walker pats the ball in from touch to Cross who flies up the sideline. Walker is there to finish off the play he started. Crocker gets the conversion. Roosters 24-0
40th min: PENALTY GOAL - Crocker finishes the half with 2 points. Penrith defenders are dead on their feet but still playing their hearts out, guilty of holding down again. Roosters 26-0
HALF TIME: The Roosters have had the luxury of dictating the play in their half for the majority of the game. Penrith will come back at them, but is there enough gas left in the tank
42nd min: NEWS - Gower (Panthers) in his 150th first grade rep game, gets a 40/20 and lifts the team
43rd min: TRY - Campbell for Panthers. For the first time this afternoon, the Panthers play inside their 20. Nicely set up on the third tackle, Wesser combines well with Campbell who scores. Girdler from out in front, adds the extra 2 points. Roosters 26-6
48th min: NEWS - 4 penalties to the Panthers given by Mander for different discretions and no one sent to the bin. The Panthers on their line could not penetrate the Roosters brick wall defence
51st min: TRY - Crocker for Roosters. The Panthers penalised for holding the foot of a Roosters player in the tackle, giving the Roosters great field position for attack. Third tackle, and Finch holds the ball up beautifully for it to get to Crocker. He adds 2 extra points for the conversion. Roosters 32-6
56th min: NEWS - Fittler (Roosters) off the field after a heavy tackle on him by the Panthers defence
58th min: TRY - Whatuira for Panthers. Wing floats a long pass out to his backs which is plucked out of the air by Whatuira who runs 30 metres to score under the posts. Girdler quickly adds the extra 2 points. Roosters 32-12
61st min: TRY - Campbell for Panthers. A penalty gets the Panthers down the field. The third tackle and Galuvao busts through the line, very close to scoring. Campbell as ever in support to get the pass and score. Girdler gets the conversion. Roosters 32-18
62nd min: NEWS - Fittler (Roosters) quickly brought back into the game
70th min: TRY - Fittler for Roosters. The Roosters allowed to run and punish the tired Panthers forwards. Fittler over the moon to see a large gap loom in front of him, punches the air in triumph. Crocker from out in front, adds 2 points. Roosters 38-18
73rd min: TRY - Girdler for Panthers. The short kick off, 2 penalties, and the Panthers score. A lovely floating ball by Campbell out to the speedster Girdler who scores right in the corner. Girdler from right on the sideline, converts his own try with a brilliant kick. Roosters 38-24
78th min: NEWS - Wesser (Panthers) close to scoring butcouldn't resist the double movement and is penalised
FULL TIME: The second half belongs to the Panthers and to the crowd, but well done to the Roosters.