Wests Tigers v Panthers: Five key points
In total contrast to Round 1, the Panthers defended well and scored freely while Wests Tigers were blown off the park in a 36-2 loss at Campbelltown Stadium. Here are five key points.
Panthers bounce back defensively
There is no better way to turn a poor week in defence around than to keep a side scoreless. And while the Wests Tigers managed a penalty goal early on in the game, the Panthers' 34 unanswered points pleased coach Anthony Griffin and his men after coming under fire for their lacklustre performance against the Dragons a week earlier, where they conceded 40. The 36-2 scoreline over the Tigers was their biggest ever victory at Campbelltown Stadium since 2001 and the first time the Panthers have kept the Wests Tigers tryless since the joint venture's inception back in 2000.
Peachey-Edwards combo on fire
A five star performance from Tyrone Peachey set up the Panthers emphatic win over Wests Tigers. The 25-year-old played his hand in two of the visitors' tries and made over 180 metres with four line breaks. The left edge combination with young rookie Dylan Edwards looked like it was 100-games old, when in fact it was only the first time the duo have linked in their careers. With the pending returns of Panthers outside backs Josh Mansour, Peta Hiku and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak as the season progresses, the gifted winger did his chances of remaining in first grade no harm after running the Tigers' right edge ragged with over 160 run metres and the first four-pointer of his career.
Cartwright injury worry
The loss of Panthers' back-rower Bryce Cartwright could be a further talking point after the 22-year-old hobbled off the field after a collision only four minutes into the game. The St Marys junior stayed on the field for a further 10 minutes before succumbing to the sidelines. While the medical staff at Penrith seem confident the injury is only a flare up from a broken ankle suffered in 2014, Cartwright will require scans on Monday to determine the full extent of his ailment.
Wests Tigers blow early chances
Three genuine try-scoring opportunities in the first half went to waste and left the home side with plenty of catching up to do once the Panthers began to take momentum. Four-pointers went begging for Tigers duo Moses Suli and David Nofoaluma in the opening half, before James Tedesco failed to get the ball down early in the second stanza – all which could have had different effects on the outcome of the game. Despite possession being a 50-50 split at the end of the contest, the home side could only manage one line-break compared to the Panthers' nine. A high error rate and incomplete sets had the Tigers on the back foot for the entire second half as the Panthers took control of the remainder of the game.
Debut to remember for Kikau
The scoreboard may not reflect the moment, but a huge hit from NRL debutant Viliame Kikau on Wests Tigers' fullback James Tedesco gave the Panthers rookie a strong start to his Telstra Premiership career and proved a huge turning point in the first half. While Tedesco didn't lose the ball, the strong hit lifted the Panthers who then went on to score three quick tries before the break, with Kikau going over in just his second run of the game to the delight of his teammates.