Just like last week against the Roosters, the Panthers were competitive in the first half and grew in confidence after Dave Simmons grabbed a bouncing ball from a Lachlan Coote pass to score the team’s only try of the game.
Right on half time the Cowboys yet again exposed the Panthers left hand defence with Brent Tate breaking free of three tackles on his way to scoring which saw the visitors ahead 12-4 at the break.
From the start of the second half the Cowboys played consistent football against a Panthers side who weren’t committed. Kyle Feldt scored his first NRL try catching out Matt Moylan who was pedestrian-like in trying to get to the ball in goal. And in a twelve minute period Ray Thompson scored a hat-trick, including a controversial decision where it was judged Feldt didn’t get a hand to the ball in a contest with Josh Mansour.
Luke Walsh was replaced with eighteen minutes to play by Lachlan Coote who partnered Isaac John in the halves. This could be a sign with Penrith’s season over that Walsh has played his final game with the club as they look to the future. Walsh has played 103 games for the club scoring 318 points and was the catalyst for the Panthers run to the 2010 where they finished second on the ladder.
Mose Masoe had some impact when he got onto the field and special credit for Sika Manu. No one can question Manu’s commitment in defying doctors orders to play in this season-defining match.
The Panthers tonight were given a reminder of what they’ve missed out with Johnathon Thurston re-signing with the Cowboys. Thurston was outstanding in the Cowboys win.