WINS | [2018] Elimination Final: Penrith 27 New Zealand Warriors 12

Saturday 8th September at ANZ Stadium

Penrith 27 – Tries: Peachey (2), Crichton (1), Maloney (1); Goals: Cleary (5); Field goals: Maloney (1) | New Zealand Warriors 12


A dangerous tackle penalty in the opening minutes gave the sixth placed Panthers an early 2-0 lead against the seventh placed Warriors.

However, the Warriors would score the first two tries to hold a 12-2 lead within 15 minutes.

Off the back of a James Maloney 40-20, Penrith were able to get into prime field position, and Nathan Cleary put through a perfectly threaded kick into the in goal and was grounded by Tyrone Peachey. Cleary’s conversion reduced the Warriors lead to 12-8.

The Panthers would go back to back when a Dallin Watene-Zelezniak line break found Maloney backing up on the inside and crossed under the uprights. In a matter of minutes, Penrith had turned a 10 point deficit into a 2 point lead.

Penrith further increased their lead to 18-12 when Peachey crossed for his second in the corner after 27 minutes, and would remain as the half time score.

Ten minutes into the second half, Penrith were the first to score when they took advantage of the numbers on the right edge and Christian Crichton planted the ball in the corner. Cleary’s sideline conversion pushed the lead out to 12.

Just before the 60 minute mark, a Maloney field goal pushed it out to a 13 point advantage.

The only other points after this came from a penalty conversion to Cleary when a Warriors field goal failed to go the required 10 metres.

The Panthers 15 point victory was the third straight elimination final win and once again earnt them a passage to a week 2 semi finals match.


WINS | [2018] Round 25: Penrith 22 Melbourne 16

Friday 31st August at AAMI Park

Penrith 22 – Tries: Blake (2), Mansour (2), Crichton (1); Goals: Cleary (1) | Melbourne 16


The Storm opened the scoring with a penalty conversion after six minutes, but the Panthers scored the opening try after 12 minutes when Josh Mansour powered his way over from dummy half with a hit and spin to slam the ball down in the corner to lead 4-2.

After 17 minutes, Mansour would be sin binned for a contentious call when he took a Melbourne player out in their in goal. The home team would take advantage of the 13 on 12 and cross for their first try to lead 8-4.

The 32nd minute saw a second Penrith sin binning, this time to James Tamou and Melbourne took the penalty conversion on offer to push their lead out to 6.

However, this would be countered minutes later with a Penrith penalty conversion to Cleary to take it back to 10-6, which would remain the half time score.

Penrith caught a lucky break early in the second when the bunker denied the Storm a try, ruling obstruction in the lead up.

Minutes later, the visitors would lock it up at 10-all when a series of quick backline passes found Waqa Blake, who then streaked down the left edge and created a two on one with the Storm fullback and passed the ball to Mansour to cross for his second.

After 51 minutes, Penrith hit the lead when a James Maloney low cross field bomb was not taken cleanly by the Melbourne defenders, and the ball dribbling into the in goal, with Blake grounding it just before it travelled dead.

In the 69th minute, a Maloney clearing fifth tackle kick just inside the Storm half deflected off the defenders, and was toed ahead by Tyrone May and then picked up by Cleary, who then calmly assessed the situation and saw a 3 on 1 advantage and stabbed a kick to left edge, which was picked up by Blake in the in goal, who juggled it and managed to ground it just inside the dead ball line. Cleary’s uncharacteristically poor game with the boot meant that the Panthers only increased their lead by a further four to 18-10.

Only minutes later, the Storm were on the attack and had seemingly taken advantage of the numbers on the left edge. However, their pass was clutched in mid air by Christian Crichton. His initial reaction was to just fall on the ball, but he got up and started running, and had a 60 metre clear passage to the try line, completing one of the more unusual intercept tries. Once again, an unsuccessful Cleary conversion had the visitors up 22-10.

A Melbourne try with only five minutes remaining set up a potentially thrilling finish.

In the dying minutes, the Panthers shut down a couple of try scoring opportunities, including a Cleary cover tackle when a Storm player broke the line.

But Penrith would hang on, recording their first win at AAMI Park in eight visits, and their first in the Victorian capital since 2005.

WINS | [2018] Round 22: Penrith 17 Gold Coast Titans 16

Saturday 11th August at CBUS Super Stadium

Penrith 17 – Tries: Blake (1), Cleary (1), Watene-Zelezniak (1); Goals: Cleary (2); Field goals: Cleary (1) | Gold Coast Titans 16 [in Golden Point]


The Titans would score first in the opening minutes to lead 6-0.

Penrith would hit back when Waqa Blake finished off a 60 metre play to lock it up at 6-all with 15 minutes on the clock.

The visitors would be reduced to 12 mean with seven minutes remaining in the first half when forward Jack Hetherington was sin binned for a professional foul when he went high on a Titans player on the ground. The Panthers would hold out to the Titans for the remainder of the half, being 6-all at the break.

The hosts crossed for two tries in the opening 20 minutes of the second half to lead 16-6.

With five minutes remaining, the Panthers reduced the Titans lead to four when a Dean Whare line break was finished off by Nathan Cleary who streaked away to cross under the posts.

With only 40 seconds remaining, the Panthers ran the ball on the fifth and swung it to the left hand side. Viliame Kikau broke the line and found Blake on his left hand side. Juggling it on the run, he managed to regather and found Dallin Watene-Zelezniak who crossed near the uprights and lock it up at 16-all in the shadows of full time.

Cleary was not able to convert the try and therefore the match was forced into golden point.

With a minute remaining in the first period of golden point, Cleary potted a 30 metre field goal to give the Panthers yet another come from behind win, and giving new caretaker coach Cameron Ciraldo success in his first NRL match.

WINS | [2018] Round 21: Penrith 40 Canberra 31

Sunday 5th August at Panthers Stadium

Penrith 40 – Tries: Peachey (2), Maloney (1), Mansour (1), Tamou (1), Watene-Zelezniak (1), Whare (1); Goals: Cleary (5) | Canberra 31


The Panthers opened the scoring within the first two minutes when James Tamou barged over from close range to hold a 6-0 lead.

The visitors struck back with a converted try of their own to make it 6-all, and soon edged ahead with a penalty conversion.

Just before the 20 minute mark, the Panthers regained the lead when Tyrone Peachey burnt the Raiders defence by slicing through.

Canberra scored three tries in the final 15 minutes of the half to hold a 26-12 lead at the break.

Six minutes after the restart Penrith reduced the margin to eight points when Dean Whare stood up the Canberra fullback to run 35 metres to the line.

Canberra once again stretched their lead after 55 minutes with a try to lead 30-18.

However, the Panthers were the next to score when Peachey made it a double when he dummied close to the line and reduced the Raiders lead to 6.

With 13 minutes remaining, a Raiders field goal made it 31-24.

Minutes later, a series of passes found an unmarked Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on the right wing to stroll over. The try would remain unconverted and the Raiders still held a three point lead.

Soon after Panthers would hit the lead when Josh Mansour fooled the Raiders fullback to cross over, and with the conversion made it 34-31.

The home team secured the premiership points with two minutes remaining when James Maloney jinked his way over from close range.

WINS| [2018] Round 20: Penrith 28 Manly 24

Saturday 28th July at Lottoland

Penrith 28 – Tries: Blake (1), Cleary (1), Mansour (1), Whare (1), Yeo (1); Goals: Cleary (5) | Manly 24


Manly held a 2-0 lead ten minutes into the encounter, but the Panthers would strike for the first try when Dean Whare ran through a gap on the right edge caused by the sliding defence to cross in the corner. Maloney’s conversion gave the visitors a 6-0 lead.

The home team’s first try with only seconds remaining gave Manly an 8-6 lead at half time.

Three more tries to Manly within the first 20 minutes of the second half gave the Sea Eagles a 24-6 lead.

When Josh Mansour crossed in the corner after steaming onto a Waqa Blake offload with 12 minutes remaining, it reduced the lead to 14.

An Isaah Yeo try from close range three minutes later with Maloney converting, it made it 24-16.

On the second tackle off the restart, a Viliame Kikau offload found Nathan Cleary who broke the line and found Blake roaming on his outside, who finished the play by grounding the ball under the uprights and reduced the lead to just 2.

Once again off the restart, James Maloney hoisted the ball up for a midfield bomb on the fourth tackle, and the Manly fullback took a regulation catch. Running back in field, he was tackled by Kikau and in the same action dislodged the ball. The loose ball was picked up by Cleary who streaked the 10 metres to cross under the posts. His try made it the fourth in just seven minutes and had turned an 18 point deficit into a four point lead with just five minutes remaining.

The Panthers hung on in the final minutes to record the biggest ever comeback with the least minutes remaining in premiership history.

WINS | [2018] Round 17: Penrith 36 New Zealand Warriors 4

Friday 6th July at Panthers Stadium

Penrith 36 – Tries: Luai (2), Blake (1), Harawira-Neara (1), Kikau (1), Phillips (1); Goals: Luai (6) | New Zealand Warriors 4


Whilst the Warriors had the better field position, as well as being denied opportunities through refereeing decisions in the first 20 minutes, the Panthers opened the scoring when rookie halfback Jarome Luai toed through a perfectly timed and angled grubber to find Tyrone Phillips in the corner after 25 minutes.

Minutes later, Luai crossed for his first NRL try when he split the line 10 metres out. Luai converted his own try to have the home team hold a 10-0 lead.

A penalty conversion with five minutes remaining saw Penrith hold a 12-0 lead at half time.

It was extended to 18-0 after 53 minutes when Waqa Blake finished an 80 metre ball movement started by Viliame Kikau, when he took a run around type pass from Phillips.

Six minutes later it was 24-0 when the Panthers ran it on the last and Kikau ran off a Tyrone May offload only metres out to canter over the line untouched.

Luai scored his second for the evening with a 25 metre individual effort where he jinked and sidestepped his way through the Warriors feeble defence. He converted to make it 30-0

The tries kept coming with Penrith’s sixth coming shortly when Corey Harwira-Neara hit a hole from close range from a Dallin Watene-Zelezniak pass. Luai’s sixth conversion made it 36-0.

The home team were denied a shut out when the Warriors finally scored their one and only try with only minutes remaining.

In only Luai’s second NRL game, whom was deputising for Nathan Cleary who was unavailable due to New South Wales selection, he had bagged a 22 point haul from 2 tries and 6 goals.

WINS | [2018] Round 14: Penrith 23 Canberra 22

Friday 8th June at GIO Stadium

Penrith 21 – Tries: Peachey (2), Whare (1); Goals: Maloney (5); Field goals: Cleary (1) | Canberra 20


The competition front runners struck first within the first four minutes when Tyrone Peachey cleaned up a James Maloney kick and dived in the corner for Penrith to lead 4-0.

Back to back penalty conversions to Maloney had the Panthers lead 8-0 with just a tick over 10 minutes gone on the clock.

The Raiders would strike back, firstly with a converted try and then a penalty in the shadows on half time to have it locked up 8-all at the break.

A third penalty conversion to Penrith saw them regain the lead early after the restart.

But Canberra would once again hit back, crossing for two converted tries to hold a 20-10 heading into the final 15 minutes.

However, the Panthers would score next, with Peachey taking advantage of an overlap on the left edge and slicing through the defence to narrow the deficit to 4 points.

A high shot penalty against Penrith saw the home team push it out to 6 with 10 minutes remaining.

The Panthers would lock it all up at 22-all five minutes later when Dean Whare finished off an enterprising play that went through a number of hands and crossed over in the corner, and completed with Maloney’s sideline conversion.

With just under two minutes remaining, Nathan Cleary calmly potted over a field goal to give the Panthers the barest of leads.

Canberra had one final opportunity to steal victory at the death, but they lost the ball and Penrith held on to record their tenth win for 2018 and retain their spot at the top of the ladder.

Penrith Panthers – from chocolate soldiers to black magic