Rugby League

Dragons blow Panthers away with spirited second-half

June 1, 2024 7:23 pm

[Source: NRL]

An inspired second-half comeback in which they scored 22 unanswered points saw the Dragons overrun the Panthers 22-10 in torrid conditions at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday night.

Down 10-0 at the break and having been forced to get through a mountain of defence – much of which came while they were camped on their own line – St George Illawarra set the tone with a clean line break to start the second half before going on to score four tries in the next 32 minutes.

It was the Red V’s first win in seven games against the Panthers, who suffered a defeat on home soil for the first time since August last year.

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Penrith had owned the opening 25 minutes in which they dominated the possession count, but couldn’t find a breakthrough due in equal parts to a high error count and some staunch opposition defence.

Eventually Paul Alamoti charged through from close range to register first points, before teenage winger Jesse McLean claimed an uncontested bomb and managed to stay in the field of play for a second 10 minutes later.

After pinging his earlier attempt off the post, Alamoti converted from the sideline for a 10-0 lead at the break.

Sione Finau busted through the heart of Penrith’s defence on the opening carry of the second half and minutes later Toby Couchman got over to put the Dragons back in the contest.

Tyrell Sloan’s strike and a second Kyle Flanagan conversion saw the visitors hit the lead before an end-to-end arm wrestle played out for the next 20 minutes.

A tackle-busting run to the corner from Mathew Feagai then put the Red V a step closer to victory, but with the conversion that followed hitting the upright it remained a one-score game.

But an astute captain’s challenge with eight to go not only saw the Dragons overturn a call which would have given Penrith the ball, it resulted in them being given a penalty when an offside player was found during the review, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner striking the killer blow a short time later with his first try of the season.