Almanac Rugby League – NRL Round 8: Penrith v Cronulla – Sun Finally Shines for Panthers.

Penrith Panthers versus Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
National Rugby League, Round 8

2.00pm, Sunday 26th April 2015.
Pepper Stadium, Penrith


As a Panthers fan, you get used to things being “hit and miss.”

At the start of the season, there was genuine hope, faith even, Ivan Cleary had prepared a squad capable of winning the Premiership. It’s all about timing, 12 years between titles 91 to 03, so it’s time in 2015 right? 3 wins after 7 rounds suggests it’s going to be a “miss.”

Most clubs across the codes have produced a commemorative ANZAC jersey for this weekend. The Panthers have a produced something unique here, this jersey is stripped of all sponsorship symbols.

Amongst the charges of the general over commercialisation of this most solemn of days, Panthers have done this right and all others should recognize the corporate symbols on their commemorative jersey shouldn’t be mixed with images of diggers. A clear “hit” for the Panthers organization.

Just as the pre match ANZAC ceremony is to take place, the temperature noticeably drops as the southerly breeze picks up a notch and rain begins to fall.

Cronulla will run with this strong breeze in the first half. Their confidence is up, on a 4 game winning streak, most recently against Souths in the cyclonic conditions on Monday night.

Penrith score first with a break down the right side with Dallin Watene Zelesniak, playing as a centre today, setting up his winger David Simmons to score next to the posts.

Cronulla respond on their first possession after the try with a try to Sosia Feki in the left corner and the conversion attempt is missed.

Three straight penalties with Cronulla deep in attack and after a glut of possession break the line down the left once again with Leutele diving over. Playing one-in from the wing on the defensive line Watene Zelesniak is having difficulty reading what’s coming at him.

21st minute and Jeremy Latimore is upended in a good old fashioned spear tackle, long outlawed in the game. If this isn’t worth a send-off, I’m not sure what is anymore, but these referee’s live in fear of criticism and both Heighington and Ennis are placed on report only.

Penrith knuckle down in the forwards and earn some hard earned yards and a repeat set as Cronulla fumbles a kick. Running the ball from under the posts to the right Moylan sets up DWZ who draws three defenders but he stills barges over the line. The conversion into the stiff breeze is worth bottling and Panthers are back in front.

A series of mistakes leads to Cronulla picking up a loose ball and Holmes diving over the line to plant the ball in the right corner and a quality conversion by Mick Gordon puts Sharks back in front.

A penalty goal right on half time extends Cronulla’s lead to 18 to 12 at the siren.

During half time Don Feltis, Panthers group President, announces the proceeds of sales of the ANZAC jersey has raised $60,000 to Defence Care, a charity helping current and ex serving members of the ADF and their families in times of crisis. Another “hit” for the club.

Lewis Brown runs over Jeff Robson, offloads to DWZ who finds Moylan backing up and scores a great try to open the second half. Moylan’s conversion ties up the score.

Cronulla fumbles a high kick ending in a penalty in front of the goal and Moylan takes the two points to give Penrith the lead once again.

The next 20 minutes is an entertaining end to end contest as the sun appropriately shines.

72nd minute and Penrith breaks the contest with Tyrone Peachy forcing the ball down from a Will Smith grubber kick into the in goal. Moylan’s conversion provides an 8 point buffer.

Cronulla embark on some helter skelter catch up football in the closing stages but Penrith keep a clean sheet in the second half.

Lewis Brown, in his first match in over a month, is named ANZAC medallist.

A much needed win for the black cats ahead of their first bye next weekend.

Penrith Panthers 26. Tries:  Simmons, Watene-Zelezniak, Moylan and Peachy. Goals: Moylan 5 from 5

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 18 Tries:  Feki, Leutele and Holmes. Goals: Gordon 3 from 4

Crowd 12,798

About Wayne Ball

Tragic fan of the Australian and NSW cricket teams (for those of you outside NSW, there is a difference, despite what David Hookes said). Not a fan of T20. Penrith Panthers are the only club of decency and all which is good in Rugby League, the Waratah's were once the national team of Rugby Union, the first non Victorian team in the VFL/AFL is the Sydney Swans, and they all enjoy my passionate support. Sings for Wanderers. Internationally, I have been to see the Oakland Athletics and Green Bay Packers play. One day, I'll see Norwich City play for the FA Cup at Wembley.

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