Last Time Played: Panthers v Dragons
The Dragons defeated the Panthers 32-12 at WIN Stadium in Round 26 last year.
The Dragons raced to a 12-nil lead inside the half hour courtesy of two tries to Brett Morris. His first in the 15th minute came after some brilliant footwork and lovely pass from centre Matt Cooper. The left winger crossed again when Darius Boyd floated a long ball wide, with Morris weaving through the abundant cover defence.
The Panthers got on the scoreboard when Blake Austin cleaned up a David Simmons bat-back of a cross-field bomb with 52 minutes gone, before Jamie Soward added to the Dragons’ tally when trailing through to gather a wonderful Beau Scott offload at close range.
The home side went further ahead when Jason Nightingale crossed after a bullet-like cut-out pass from Soward before Lachlan Coote finished off a short-ball raid for a 22-12 scoreline with 15 minutes to play. Tries to Matt Cooper and Mitch Rein rounded out the scoring.
Although the Panthers enjoyed the majority of possession they were powerless to repel the Dragons’ attack, which posted nine punishing line-breaks and 23 offloads on the evening.
While Morris was easily the best on ground the Panthers were best served by interchange Blake Austin who scored a try and offered a try assist in just his second NRL game.