Roosters v Panthers: Five key points
Jamie Soward's kicking prowess proved the difference in a game that offered Panthers coach Anthony Griffin nicer headaches than usual following the club's 20-16 win over the Sydney Roosters on Monday night.
Soward's boot proves the difference
You don't usually read much into kicking metre statistics. However when it comes to Soward's in this particular fixture every single one of his 486 kick metres were crucial.
The Roosters were forced into making seven drop outs in their four-point loss, most of them coming as a result of a kick from Soward.
Penrith's win in the end came down to conversions too – Soward again the man responsible for his team's perfect goal-kicking record (four goals from four attempts) despite heavy rain throughout the match.
"It was the difference. Well done to Jamie, he controlled it well and didn't take massive risks on their shifts," Roosters coach Trent Robinson conceded. "Then he executed well for us to have line drop-out after line drop-out."
Career best showings for Latu, Latrell
Leilani Latu had never started an NRL game before Monday.
222 run metres later, Penrith fans will be left disappointed if the young forward is not there next Sunday afternoon against the Sharks from the opening whistle.
While he was sent up the tunnel for a head test 10 minutes in after falling victim to an Isaac Liu crusher tackle, Latu made the most of his next two lengthy stints that followed.
"Lelani has been working away really well," Griffin said. "I gave him an opportunity to start and he took it."
Roosters fullback Latrell Mitchell also offered a career-best showing despite his team's loss.
Mitchell produced two tries, a line-break assist and five tackle breaks in a positive sign for the Roosters.
"He's fighting hard and trying to win plays," Robinson said. "He's doing his best and he's doing a good job."
Penrith duo offer Griffin good headaches
James Segeyaro (arm) and Dean Whare (calf) may be just a fortnight away from returning but Griffin may be hard-pressed finding an immediate opening in his 17.
Te Maire Martin and Waqa Blake have been two of Penrith's best so far this year, both men securing tries against the Roosters.
Blake in particular played his best game of the season but it was his defence (27 tackles) which impressed Griffin most.
"He's been doing a great job for us Waqa and they really peppered our right side. He, Cartwright and Martin had to get through a lot of defence," Griffin said.
"He just showed us what he's capable of. Waqa's been one of our better players the last few weeks."
Napa's 153-minute stint
Nobody could believe the huge performance Dylan Napa produced last week against the Rabbitohs where he managed over 150 metres and 50 tackles in a whopping 80-minute effort.
His display against Penrith wasn't quite as memorable but he did manage to push his stay out on the field to a consecutive 153 minutes – throwing in his first 48-minute stint on Monday night and the last 25 minutes of the Roosters' loss to the Warriors a fortnight ago.
Queensland fans are still shattered they have to wait a further 12 months to see him in a Maroons jumper.
Rain dampens no one's spirit
Wet weather more often than not has a negative effect on any game. This one went a little differently.
Penrith's effort in keeping their error count to just eight was a mean feat considering the rain that hammered down for the most part of the game.
The Roosters wouldn't be denied their moment in the sun (through lack of a better term) either.
Mitchell's 60th-minute try was one of the best of the season so far. It started from a Jackson Hastings kick out to Shaun Kenny-Dowall. The veteran winger passed to Blake Ferguson who quickly offloaded it on to Eloni Vunakece.
Kenny-Dowall received the ball back as he head in-field but thought skipper Jake Friend was in a better position to send the Roosters fullback over the try-line instead. Mitchell ending the magic play under the black dot of the uprights.