The Penrith Panthers are started their season off with an impressive victory, downing the Canberra Raiders 32-10 at Penrith Football Stadium.
The Sunday afternoon heat took its toll in this one, and a glut of possession to the Panthers really kept the Raiders on the back foot all afternoon.
The Panthers really had to grind this game out. The lack of strike players in their lineup really showed up in this game but so too did the fact that this team has a lot of hard workers in it. Its starting to look like a really good base to build a good side on.
The Raiders looked dangerous at times, especially out wide. This game was really one of the worst ways for them to start a season. They have a very good lineup but with the possession going against them, the heat, the size of their forward pack and the way Penrith were really working them around the middle of the field…the Raiders tried hard but it just didn’t go their way on the day.
For the Panthers, James Segeyaro played great off the bench. I wouldn’t be surprised if he go much more game time to the point where he may be our starting hooker by seasons end.
I felt our halves in Walsh and Coote were very poor throughout the game. They looked to be struggling for the full 80 minutes. I tend to think Blake Austin is a better choice at five-eigth which allows Coote to move back to fullback and have a bit more freedom in the attack.
Dean Whare played at fullback in this one and while he was solid throughout the game, he didn’t have too much of an effect in attack. I tend to think he is better playing out wide where he can use his power and footwork rather than having him just eating up the yards from kicks. He also hasn’t got that ball playing ability I think fullbacks must have these days.
The Panthers forwards played well. I think it will take some time for Lewis Brown to really find his place in the side but with his style of game that is to be expected. At times in this match you could see the Panthers weren’t quite clicking as a team, but their work ethic was fantastic.
News than Johnathan Thurston has re-signed with the Cowboys will put a re-think on the Panthers recruitment for 2014. Obviously they have a lot of money to spent, to the point where they can basically have their pick of any player off contract. I tend to think we need a change in the halves if we are going to take a step forward as a team.
A solid win like that is a great way to start the season off. Lets hope there are more like that as the season progresses.