Penrith Panthers 28-6 Manly Warringah Sea Eagles: Match report

The Penrith Panthers have already laid down their marker as they look to defend their Premiership this season as they swept aside the Manly Sea Eagles 28-6 in the season opener at Bluebet Stadium.

Without Talisman Nathan Cleary, who will miss the first few weeks of the season with a shoulder injury, the Panthers still looked the team to beat in 2022 as they dominated Manly and kept current Daly M Medalist Tom Trbojevic very quiet for his standards.

Two early disallowed tries from Stephen Crichton and Brian To’o kept the scores level until young gun Izack Tago got the first try of the 2022 NRL season to put the Panthers ahead.

The pressure continued from the reigning Premiers even with the absence of Nathan Cleary. A penalty from 25m out allowed Penrith to extend their lead to eight points before some good play from scrum half Sean O’Sullivan saw them heap more early points on the Sea Eagles. His cut out pass found the impressive Crichton. He then made up for his early disallowed score and picked up his first try since his winner in last year’s grand final.

The Panthers continued to dominate the first half with over 75% of the game being played in Sea Eagles territory. That was until the last play of the half when, completely against the run of play, a line break for Kieran Foran allowed Trbojevic to show his quality as he raced away before feeding new signing Ethan Bullemor for him to score on debut. For all of the Panthers’ dominance, a 12-6 score line at half time meant Manly were still firmly in the game.

If Manly did have any momentum after their late try in the first-half it was short lived as it was Penrith who got the first points of the second-half. A strong run by Viliame Kikau allowed him to offload the ball to Jarome Luai for the five eight to score and give the Panthers their 12 point cushion once again.

Penrith then continued to turn the screw on Manly and suffocated their middle forwards allowing them very little attacking opportunities. It was the Panthers who scored again as Api Koroisau darted over from dummy half to all but seal the game.

Another later try from the Panthers scored by Liam Martin confirmed the result and allowed them to get their title defence underway with an impressive win. With Cleary still to return it looks like the road to being named the 2022 premiers runs through Penrith.

As for the Sea Eagles, a disappointing start to the season and they have now lost their last nine season openers. Tom Trbojevic was ineffective by his own lofty standards. A marked man no doubt in 2022, they need to find a way to get him involved more if they are to have any success this season as it seems the Panthers have laid down the blueprint on how to deal with him.

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Luke Taylor
Luke Taylor
5 months ago

Great to see more nrl stuff on here been wanting it for a long time!

Jacob Cummings
Jacob Cummings
5 months ago
Reply to  Luke Taylor

Completely agree! Great read.