Penrith defeated Canberra 19-18 at Canberra Stadium in Round 25 last year.
The Panthers drew first blood when halfback Luke Walsh finished off a long-range raid for a 6-nil lead after four minutes. However Canberra levelled proceedings when Josh McCrone charged over on the right edge with 20 minutes gone, before skipper Alan Tongue increased their lead to six points three minutes from halftime – Tongue’s try off a spilled bomb came in his final career game at his Canberra base.
It took the Panthers just two minutes to get back into the game after halftime, with Brad Tighe outleaping Reece Robinson to snare Luke Walsh’s pinpoint cross-field bomb for a 12-all scoreline.
David Simmons added to the Panthers’ tally eight minutes later when he crossed in the left corner and Luke Walsh gave the visitors a seven point buffer when he potted a field goal with 11 minutes left on the clock.
Raiders interchange Mick Picker gave home fans a glimmer of hope when he pounced on a deflected grubber kick to score 90 seconds from fulltime… but that was the end of the road for the Raiders.
Halfback Walsh was Penrith’s MVP with two try assists, while winger Simmons carved out 172 metres on the night.
Josh Dugan delivered a customary penetrative contribution, running 20 times for 168 metres, while halfback Sam Williams added two try assists.
Canberra were unlucky not to get the result: they completed six full sets more than Penrith, missed fewer tackles and made fewer errors. However, Penrith’s attack conjured more with the possession they had, making three line-breaks to the home side’s one.