Pan­thers can purr

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - PAUL CRAW­LEY PAN­THERS RAB­BITOHS PEN­RITH Tries: Goals: SOUTH SYD­NEY Tries: Goals: Crowd:

THEY were the fairy­tale story of last sea­son. Af­ter af­ter another in­jury- plagued start to 2015, the mighty Pan­thers are back on the prowl.

On the cold­est night of the NRL sea­son so far, Pen­rith’s home grown sen­sa­tion Bryce Cartwright starred in a com­pre­hen­sive 20- 6 vic­tory over a dis­ap­point­ing South Syd­ney.

In what was un­doubt­edly their best per­for­mance of the sea­son, the Pan­thers raced in four tries to one with the supremely gifted Cartwright un­load­ing his full bag of tricks while skip­per Peter Wallace was in­spi­ra­tional.

Still miss­ing four of their big­gest stars in Matt Moy- lan, James Sege­yaro, Ja­mal Idris and Josh Man­sour, the Pan­thers made the reign­ing pre­miers look sec­ond rate.

South Syd­ney’s for­get­table night was made worse with John Sut­ton fin­ish­ing the game on the bench with his arm wrapped in ice.

The luck­less Dave Tyrrell was also stretchered off af­ter a heavy head col­li­sion with Nigel Plum.

Cartwright was phe­nom­e­nal with a per­for­mance former Pen­rith leg­end Mark Geyer de­scribed as the 20year- old’s “break­out game” as he played a sig­nif­i­cant role in two tries.

Wallace also scored one try, threw the fi­nal pass for another and stopped three more with some tremen­dous ef­forts that high­lighted what a vi­tal game this was for his team.

It gave the Pan­thers back to back wins and puts them on 18 com­pe­ti­tion points to keep them in touch with the top eight.

The next two weeks will also be cru­cial. They take on the Roost­ers at home next week be­fore they travel to Mel­bourne for a post Ori­gin Fri­day night block­buster.

Souths have the bye next week.

Pen­rith went to the break ahead 8- 0 af­ter an out­stand­ing first half per­for­mance. They scored two spec­tac­u­lar tries, had one dis­al­lowed and saved at least four with des­per­ate try­line de­fence.

Wallace’s des­per­a­tion won him the race for a cru­cial try early in the sec­ond half. Chas­ing a Soward grub­ber, Wallace looked no chance to score be­fore Alex John­ston kicked at the bounc­ing ball and missed as Wallace pounced.

Waqa Blake touched down for the fourth unan­swered try in the 62nd minute to push the lead to 18- 0.

IM­PACT PLAYER: Bryce Cartwright was one of the play­ers to have a strong hand in the Pan­thers’ con­vinc­ing vic­tory over the South Syd­ney Rab­bitohs last night. Pic­ture: CAMERON SPENCER

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