The Penrith Panthers have taken a 14-6 lead to the halftime break but two bombed chances have allowed the South Sydney Rabbitohs to stay in the match.
Anyone who thought the Rabbitohs would be scared of the challenge of the Panthers may need to think again after the first try at ANZ Stadium.
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After a week off, the Panthers were ambushed early by the Rabbitohs getting a lucky penalty at the end of the first set when James Tamou fell in front of Adam Reynolds as the half kicked and fell on the Penrith captain.
It gave Reynolds a shot at an early lead, but he missed the kick.
From the 20m drop out, the Rabbitohs went wide on the final play and grubbered inside the 10m for Souths fullback Corey Allan to pull off a one-on-one strip.
But from the first tackle, Reynolds chipped over the top to Alex Johnston on the wing as the Rabbitohs opened the scoring.
It appeared to spark the Panthers, who hit back immediately.
Johnston quickly went from hero to villain, dropping the ball at the other end for Brian To’o to push over to hit straight back.
The Rabbitohs’ try appeared to spark the Panthers, but Penrith couldn’t seem to get over the line.
A wide pass from Nathan Cleary went nowhere near an unmarked To’o in the 13th minute, but two minutes later the Panthers were back on the attack.
Going down the left hand side, a miracle ball from Jerome Luai put Josh Mansour away, only the last pass to Kurt Capewell to go forward.
Two poor passes – two bombed tries @PenrithPanthers
They can't keep bombing tries and expect to win
But @SSFCRABBITOHS Need to start tackling – gaps everywhere #NRLFinals #nrl #NRLPanthersSouths
Braith Anasta was blown away by the mistake after the brilliant lead up work.
“He should have thrown the pass earlier, it’s a forward pass,” Anasta said.
“It’s poor execution for Mansour, it’s a huge mistake. A massive mistake that could prove costly to the Penrith Panthers.”
Josh Mansour made a big mistake.Source:FOX SPORTS
Luckily for the Panthers a 26th minute kick over the top for Tyrone May handed the minor premiers the lead, while a penalty goal made it eight-points at the break.
After an enthusiastic start, the Rabbitohs’ hot run appeared to hit a speed bump with the side tiring as the half went on.
Man the Bunnies look wrecked. Not feeling good. #NRLPanthersSouths
Despite having 52 per cent of possession and making 20 less tackles than the Panthers, South Sydney made 23 missed tackles in the opening half with the Channel 9 commentators looking to the value of a week off.
“This is the whole part about the week off and having to play too many games when you get to this end of the year,” Phil Gould said.
“Everyone’s carrying niggling injuries, you get bumped the wrong way and suddenly that pain comes back.
“The Melbourne Storm fresh and full of running last night and the Panthers the same here.”
Ray Warren agreed, adding “Probably in this compressed season, it’s exemplified more.”
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