They looked electric and often dangerous but the Penrith Panthers were ultimately punished for digging their claws into themselves as they succumbed to a 26-18 defeat against the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday night.
In a tug-of-war catfight where the lead changed five times, the Panthers displayed a remarkably improved performance on recent losses with an attack that was fuelled with flair and ruthlessness.
But momentary lapses proved lethal for the Panthers, who made defensive errors that allowed the Tigers to snatch crucial tries just moments before both the half-time and full-time buzzer.
Tigers skipper Robbie Farah opened the scoring when he dived over from dummy half to score underneath the posts in the 6th minute.
Halfback Benji Marshall perfected the conversion and the Tigers led 6-0.
A stunning run by Panthers captain Kevin Kingston put the visitors on the scoreboard when he blitzed past five Tigers defenders to race across the field and over the line in the 12th minute.
Sharpshooting halfback Luke Walsh slotted the conversion and the scores were leveled at 6-all.
Exploiting a gap in the Panthers’ defence, Tigers second rower Liam Fulton clutched a Marshall pass and charged over in the 26th minute- but a failed Marshall conversion restricted their lead to 10-6.
A sensational Panthers try followed when Walsh launched a stellar high kick that travelled 30 metres before five-eighth Travis Burns gathered the ball and passed to centre Michael Jennings, who sent winger Josh Mansour flying over with ample space out wide in the 29th minute.
Walsh nailed the extras and the Panthers led 12-10.
Yet the side was unable to retain their lead ahead of the break with Tigers centre Chris Lawrence producing a 30-metre dash to snare a try in the 39th minute.
Marshall missed the conversion and the Tigers led 14-12 at halftime.
Lunging an arm over the line, Lewis almost scored a try for the Panthers in the 56th minute but Tigers fullback Tim Moltzen knocked the ball out of his hand and the video referee denied the four-pointer.
Undeterred, the Panthers continued to mount pressure on the Tigers before Walsh surged through a hole in their defence and bagged a try in the 60th minute.
He converted his own effort and Penrith led 18-14.
But the Tigers wasted no time hitting back as a rampant Ben Murdoch-Masila barged across the line in the 63rd minute with a Marshall conversion delivering the home side a 20-18 lead.
Any potential Panthers comeback and triumph was officially defused when Tigers lock Chris Heighington powered through a wide gap in the Panthers’ defence and sped 45 metres down the centre of the field to score underneath the posts in the 79th minute.
Marshall converted to seal the Tigers’ victory and condemn the Panthers to a disappointing 26-18 defeat.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.