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It wasn't pretty but it was enough as the Panthers ended the Sea Eagles five-game winning streak 16-8 in front of 14,625 fans at Penrith tonight.
Coming into tonight, and the back-end of the season after their thrashing last weekend, Panthers needed a response and they started the game with a purpose. The ball was camped in the Sea Eagles and the 12 point return was disappointing.
The attack was frustratingly sideways at points for the Panthers as they relied on Matt Moylan to spark their dormant attack. Their first points came from a determined run from James Tamou then the other before the break, was a scramble after a cross-field bomb that Dallin Watene-Zeleniak pounced on.
When they weren't stuck in their own end, the Sea Eagles created some of their attack. The much debated Daly-Cherry Evans provided a beautiful face ball to put Dylan Walker in for their sole score of the half.
The visitors discipline was their undoing as a 8-2 penalty count led to 53 tackles in their red zone but the Sea Eagles defense has to be commended to keep the score close despite the disparity in the possession and tackle counts.
It was the same story in the second half, as Panthers continued to dominate possession but added two further penalty goals to their score. There will still be work for coach Anthony Griffin as the margin should've been much higher.
For the Sea Eagles, while it ends their unbeaten run away from home - their defensive effort in the first half was remarkable as they kept showing up to repel the Panthers 53 tackles in their end.
When they had a chance to attack, former Bulldog Shaun Lane provided the assist for Tom Trbojevic to keep the scoreline close but the early defensive effort tired out the Sea Eagles which allowed the Panthers to take home a scrappy two points.
Next weekend the Panthers head over the Tasman on Friday evening to face the Warriors while the Sea Eagles host the Wests Tigers next Sunday at Lottoland.
Penrith Panthers 16 - Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 8
Venue: Panthers Stadium
Halftime Score: Penrith Panthers 12 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Matt Moylan
2 points - Dallin Watene Zelezniak
1 points - Daly Cherry-Evans
PENRITH PANTHERS (16)
Tries: James Tamou, Dallin Watene Zelezniak
Conversions: Nathan Cleary (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Nathan Cleary (2/2)
MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES (8)
Tries: Dylan Walker, Tom Trbojevic
Conversions: Dylan Walker (0/1), Apisai Koroisau (0/1)