Penrith win as Cleary returns

Penrith Panthers celebrated the return of Nathan Cleary with a 16-2 victory over Wests Tigers.

Wests were on top early and were dominating field position and possession. But both sides exchanged early penalty goals.

Penrith were well behind on the penalty count and Trent Merrin was sin-binned as a result.

But with Merrin off the field, Cleary kicked in behind for Tyrone Peachey for the opening try.

Back to 13, the Panthers extended their lead when James Maloney found Tyrone Phillips on the wing. He jumped above David Nofoaluma to finish spectacularly.

Penrith were twice denied a try in the early stages of the second half. First Viliame Kikau and then Christian Crichton for obstruction and a knock on respectively.

They did add another penalty to their score, however, which took their lead to twelve before Alex Twal was sent for a ten-minute rest after repeated offences. Maloney did the honours to extend Penrith’s lead to a winning 14 points.

Panthers: D Watene-Zelezniak, Crichton, Peachey, Whare, Phillips, Maloney, Cleary, Merrin, Katoa, Campbell-Gillard, Harawira-Naera, Yeo, Fisher-Harris; Interchanges: Egan, Hetherington, Kikau, Tamou
Tries: Peachey, Phillips; Goals: Maloney 4
Sin-bin: Merrin (23) – repeated offences

Tigers: Thompson, Nofoaluma, Marsters, Chee-Kam, M Watene-Zelezniak, Marshall, Brooks, Packers, Taylor, Matulino, Lawrence, Rochow, Eisenhuth; Interchanges: Twal, Liddle, Sue, McQueen
Goal: Marsters
Sin-bin: Twal (59) – repeated offences

Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.