Depleted Panthers 20s end losing streak
A depleted Panthers team has fought off a determined Gold Coast Titans outfit to record their 17th win of the season, the Holden Cup minor premiers prevailing 28-26 courtesy of a Dylan Edwards penalty goal four minutes from full-time.
The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Holden Cup defending premiers who round out the regular season next weekend at home against the last-placed Sea Eagles.
With the suspended trio of Reed Izzard, Jarome Luai and Jack Hetherington the Panthers opened the scoring through back-rower Corey Waddell and then extended their lead to 10 points courtesy of a 98-metre runaway try to half Wayde Egan.
A bust from fullback AJ Brimson saw the Titans hit back courtesy of winger David Pritchard who grabbed a second nine minutes from half-time, Josh Rogers' sideline conversion seeing the home side draw level.
With momentum running their way a poor fumble from Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards gifted Gold Coast possession inside the 20-metre line with Sam Swift powering his way over after a good interchange of passing close to the Panthers line, the home side leading 14-10 at the break.
Errors from both teams punctuated the start of the second half with the Panthers first to pounce through winger Ratu Tuisese with opposite winger Daniel Brown getting his name on the scoresheet 10 minutes into the second half for a 20-14 advantage.
Under the pump from a Panthers team growing in confidence the Titans needed to find something special to get back into the contest and did just that courtesy of a stunning try to hooker Jordan Scott.
Running the ball on the last tackle from just inside Penrith's territory, quick hands down the left saw Simione Fatafehi into space. A delicate grubber from the big man fell into the arms of Josh Ralph who flicked a pass under pressure straight to Scott who ran around beside the posts.
Ralph came up with a try of his own when he dived on a loose ball in the Panthers' in-goal 15 minutes from full-time but Braidon Burns got the Panthers back on level terms 10 minutes from time with a try wide out.
Edwards potted the easiest of penalties from in front of the posts in the 76th minute and the defending premiers held on in the dying stages as the Titans desperately searched for the match-winner.
Penrith Panthers 28 (Corey Waddell, Wayde Egan, Ratu Tuisese, Daniel Brown, Braidon Burns tries; Dylan Edwards 4 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 26 (David Pritchard 2, Sam Swift, Jordan Scott, Josh Ralph tries; Josh Rogers 3 goals). Half-time: Titans 14-10.