Penrith must once again be favorites for the wooden spoon in 2008 after being easily beaten by the Broncos 48-12.
Brisbane did it easy, despite their side looking to be the poorer side on paper and starting Darren Lockyer from the bench for the first 20 minutes of the game.
Brisbane looked fitter, faster and more mobile right across the park and always seemed in control of the contest right from the kickoff.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett was obviously looking to keep Lockyer out of the rough stuff early on, and it was a move few would have expected.
Former Panthers halfback Peter Wallace controlled play beautifully while Lockyer was off the field. He had a good command of the game, a good kicking and passing game and you got the feeling Brisbane will now be able to get by even when Lockyer in not in the side.
Meanwhile Penrith coach Matthew Elliott made a similar move, starting with Ben Sammutt (Who was playing 5/8th for the Panthers despite being a fullback by trade) on the bench while playing Frank Pritchard in the halves with Joey Williams.
Yeah….you heard me…..
When Lockyer came onto the field he took over the game, his kicking and passing game was simply amazing. With Lockyer and Wallace in the halves, Brisbane is well placed over the coming season.
Karmichael Hunt, Justin Hodges, Darius Boyd and Ben Hannant alll played very well for the Broncos while for Penrith, Luke Rooney made a strong return from injury and Petero Civoniceva did his best in a well beaten side.
Brisbane looked read and focused in attack and defense. Penrith looked sluggish, confused and has nothing at all in attack.
Its pretty clear Penrith need to try a few of their other options in the halves.
Joey Williams didn’t do much at all while Sammut just is not a half no matter how much the club wishes he was. I’d play Josh Mcrone at half next week and look towards getting him the experince he will need for the future.
Still, I would take this position any day over having an over rated, over payed, serial d*ckhead playing halfback as we had last year.
I also think Penrith need to get more mobility in their pack. They have plenty of good mobile back rowers and props in the lower grades and I think the time has come to give Tony Puletua a tap on the shoulder.
The Penrith Panthers have now lost 17 of the 25 games they have played under the coaching of Matthew Eiliott.
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