78 matches [1982-2021]
40 wins, 37 losses, 1 draw
Penrith’s history with Canberra has the richest history of any rivalry, by virtue of squaring off in 2 of 3 of the Panthers grand final appearances (in 1990 and 1991) as well as a number of finals matches.
The first meeting with the “green machine” was at Seiffert Oval in Queanbeyan on 16 May 1982, with Penrith winning 27-19.
In fact, Penrith would win the first 5 meetings, with Canberra finally registering its first victory at Seiffert Oval in 1984.
At the start of 1989, the Panthers had won 9 of the 13 matches to date. By then, both teams were considered premiership heavyweights. Penrith had one their one off regular season match at Penrith Park, and then squared off in the 1989 semi final. The Raiders recorded a rather comprehensive 27-18 win, and finished Penrith’s (to date) best ever season.
In 1990, the Panthers would once again win their solitary regular season match, this time at Bruce Stadium. The two teams would meet once again in the finals cauldron, this time Penrith exacting revenge with an emphatic 30-12 win in the semi final at the Sydney Football Stadium. The win also meant something a lot more special – the Panthers securing their maiden grand final berth. Canberra won the following week to secure the other slot in the decider.
In the grand final, Penrith trailed 12-0 but rallied to get it to 12-10 early in the second half. It was as close as the mountain men got. Each team scored 3 tries each, and it was ultimately Mal Meninga’s superior goal kicking that secured their second premiership.
As if it was destined by fate, the two teams would meet again in the following year in the 1991 grand final. Their paths only crossed once that season, with the Raiders winning at Bruce Stadium. That loss was one of only 4 inflicted on the minor premiers for the entire season.
In the big one, Penrith scored the opening try in the big one, but were down 12-6 at half time. The second half was considered to be one of the best halves of football ever played by the Panthers, clawing back to 12-all, then edging ahead with a Greg Alexander field goal with 10 to go. The result was locked in for Penrith when a short drop out from the Raiders was lept on by Mark Geyer, and found an unmarked Royce Simmons, playing his 233rd and final first grade match, to score the match winner. The final score was 19-12 and Penrith were crowned premiers for the first time.
Heading towards the mid-1990s, Penrith’s on field fortunes dived but Canberra maintained its position as a premiership powerhouse. From 1992 to 1999, the Panthers only won 5 out of 15 meetings.
4 of those 5 wins were at Penrith – in 1992, 1994, 1998 and 1999. In 1992, it was a tight 10-8 victory, in 1994 it was an upset and commanding 30-14 over the dominant (and ultimately premiership winning) Raiders, in 1998 it was a see-sawing 28-24 battle early in the season where the lead changed a number of times, and in 1999 it was an emotional send off for Greg Alexander in his final home game at Penrith, running out 33-14 victors.
The only win in Canberra during that time was early in the 1997 Super League season. The two teams would meet at the same venue later in the season in the qualifying semi final – the Panthers season came to an end with a 32-16 loss.
In the 2000 season, both teams would inflict commanding victories at their home venues – Canberra’s turn was first with a 30-6 win, and the Panthers returned the favour later in the season with a 36-14 win.
For the fourth time in eleven seasons, the two teams would meet in the finals, and again in Canberra, with the same outcome as 1997, with the Raiders ending the Panthers season with a 34-16 win.
Penrith would be dominant between 2001 and 2004, winning 5 of the 7 meetings. The run started early in the 2001 season – marketed as the 10 year anniversary of the 1991 grand final, the Panthers got up in a soggy encounter, with the 19-12 result fitting of the occasion. In 2004, the Panthers would record a more commanding 42-8 victory (and equalling the 34 point club record winning margin set in 1982).
In the second half of the decade, the tables would turn with the Raiders being dominant, with the Panthers winning 3 out of the 9 head to head meetings – with 2 of those being in 2009. These two wins in 2009, both home and away, would have in a way erased the embarrassment of their meeting at Canberra in 2008. On a cold August afternoon, so cold that snowfall was recorded just before kick off, the Panthers were on the wrong end of an ugly 74-12 hiding. It remains the club’s biggest ever away loss and their second ever biggest loss.
The new decade started with a resounding 34-16 win to Penrith in the opening round of the 2010 season, although the Raiders would win the two other meetings that season – the first one being in Canberra, and then meeting in the week 1 qualifying final. This time the Panthers were the hosts, but the Raiders were once again victors with a tight 24-22 win. The only positive for Penrith that night was that the loss did not mean elimination.
Penrith would win 5 of the next 7 from 2011 to 2014 – the wins at home generally during that time were dominant (with the exception of the 12-6 win in 2014), whilst the wins in Canberra were more hard earned in closer contests.
Canberra on the bounce were dominant over the 2015 and 2016 seasons, winning 4 of the 5 meetings. The only win to Penrith in that time was a 19-18 win at Carrington Park in 2014. Once again, the two teams would find each other as opponents in the semi finals, this time in 2016. It was once again in Canberra, and just like their two previous meetings in 1997 and 2000, it was the green machine that was victorious.
The trend was generally continuing with each team meeting twice home and away during the premiership season (as was the case every season since 2000 with the exception of 2012). Over the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the Panthers won four straight in all meetings, including a 40-31 win at Panthers Stadium in 2018, which saw Penrith haul in a sizeable half time deficit to over run Canberra.
Canberra won both meetings in 2019.
The Panthers have started the current decade with just the solitary meetings in 2020 and 2021, with Penrith winning both encounters. Tipped by many as the two grand finalists for 2021, the Panthers won 30-10 in a quite spiteful encounter Round 5 encounter at BlueBet Stadium.
Last updated 23 April 2022