Penrith Panthers won the first elimination game of the 2018 NRL play-off series at the ANZ Stadium today, coming from behind early on to defeat New Zealand Warriors 25-12
The Panthers took an early lead with a Nathan Cleary penalty on two minutes, but the Warriors hit back with two quick tries from Issac Luke and David Fusitu’a, both converted by Shaun Johnson, to give them a 12-2 lead on 15 minutes.
Penrith are the NRL’s comeback kings, however, and they struck back with three tries in nine minutes, with two from Tyrone Peachey and one from James Maloney, with two conversions from Cleary to give them an 18-12 lead at the interval.
The Warriors suffered a major blow as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had to leave the field with a leg injury.
The Panthers increased their lead on 51 minutes when a fine passing movement to the right saw Christian Crichton touch down, with Cleary converting from the touchline to give them a 24-12 lead.
Maloney then added a field-goal on 60 minutes.
Panthers: 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Tyrone Peachey, 5 Christian Crichton, 6 James Maloney, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Sione Katoa,10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 James Fisher-Harris; Interchange: 14 Tyrone May, 15 Moses Leota, 16 Corey Harawira-Naera, 17 James Tamou
Tries: Peachey 2, Maloney, Crichton; Goals: Cleary 3; Field Goal: Maloney
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 James Gavet, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Adam Blair, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Simon Mannering; Interchange: 14 Jazz Tevaga, 15 Isaiah Papali’i, 16 Bunty Afoa, 17 Gerard Beale
Tries: Luke, Fusitu’a; Goals: Johnson 2
A full report from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express