Almanac Rugby League – Redemption Rugby League

The last time Penrith played Manly they lost 30-0 and I wrote what may have been the shortest match report in Footy Almanac history. Fast forward a few weeks and things aren’t looking much better for the Panthers. Only the eels are keeping them out of the wooden spoon position and it seems as if there is a degree of tension in the team with Luke Lewis stood down from the captaincy and question-marks over whether the two Michaels – Jennings and Gordon – will don the Penrith colours again. None of these factors fill me with confidence.

It’s a lovely, relaxing Sunday afternoon. We’ve been to the park and I’m just heading into the backyard to kick the ball around with Ryan. Ethan will watch from his pram, his head following the ball back and forth like a spectator at the tennis.

I check the score on my phone: 0-0 after 27 minutes. Promising. The game continues, until Ryan kicks it onto the neighbour’s roof, the ball coming to rest in their backyard.

I send Ryan to ask for the ball back and sneak another look at the score. 6-4 Penrith’s way at half-time and I am moved to post on Facebook about the prospect of a miraculous Panther victory against the defending premiers.

The game continues – bombs, grubbers and banana kicks – and the ball is well contained within the yard. Meanwhile, at Centrebet Stadium the Panthers have scored again and now lead 12-4. The lead is now more than a converted try and they too appear to be doing their own job of containment.

Optimism is growing but with this Panthers side you can never be too sure. The game finishes when it starts drizzling and we have to whip the clothes off the line in a hurry. The darkening light does nothing to dampen my mood because I see that Penrith have finished with a flurry and taken the game 22-4.

Best for the Panthers were Lachlan Coote (3 Points) and Tim Grant (2 Points), whilst Luke Walsh (1 Point) had a hand in three of the four tries.

PENRITH 22 (L Coote G Daniela L Lewis B Tighe tries L Walsh 3 goals) bt MANLY 4 (D Whare try) at Centrebet Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Gavin Reynolds. Crowd:11,844.

Pete Abela is an author whose debut novel Wings was published last week. You can learn about Wings, including a free download of Chapter 1 here.



  1. Well done Pete (and congrats on the novel). Manly were just monstered yesterday and certainly out enthused. Ivan Cleary is making some good calls with man management. Penrith have been playing well the last month or so and were unlucky to miss out against North Queensland (I even changed my tip for that game so confident was I that Penrith would get it). Melbourne apart, I think the position of the bottom three teams belies the evenness of the competition. Parramatta, Gold Coast and Penrith played very well this weekend – Parramatta desperately unlucky not to get the chance at golden point. Needless to say I am very disappointed with Manly’s “effort”. Dean Whare’s lackadaisical attempt at a clearance of the ball on his own line was symptomatic of the team’s poor attitude. Still, on the back of a four-game winning streak I’ll put it down to “loss we had to have” and look to next week.

  2. Thanks Niall. I was disappointed at the Cowboys late try last week which had an element of luck attached to it. Interesting to see Cleary put his foot down and how things will play out with Jennings, Gordon, et al. I wouldn’t worry too much about Manly at this point … they are showing signs that they’ll be there when the whips are cracking.

Leave a Comment