Nervy Panthers make top eight
PENRITH have moved into the NRL top eight after crawling to a nervous 28- 14 win over the Wests Tigers at Pepper Stadium.
The match was in the balance until Panthers winger Dallin Watene- Zelezniak dived in at the corner to score and edge his side to a six- point lead in the 74th minute.
Playing in his first match against his dad, Tigers coach Ivan Cleary, Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary then nailed the sideline conversion to kick his team out to beyond a converted try.
Five- eighth Tyrone May sealed his team’s fifth straight victory with a try in the final minutes, lifting the Panthers past fading St George Illawarra into eighth spot on the ladder with four games to go in the regular season.
With a 19- 5 advantage in plays inside the opposition 20m zone in the second half, a highly- strung Panthers had trouble putting the Tigers away in front of the healthy 15,170 home crowd.
But the weight of possession told on the tiring Tigers, and the blow came when Panthers forward Corey Harawira- Naera broke into the backfield to set up WateneZelezniak.
For the gallant Tigers, the loss means they remain in a battle with Newcastle to avoid the wooden spoon after the Knights scored back- to- back wins over the past fortnight.
The Panthers were leading by two after the break when Dylan Edwards powered over from close range, however the Tigers went 90m in two plays to hit back through Luke Brooks.
In a closely- fought first half, Penrith were denied twice early by the bunker for players obstructing play by standing in the defensive line. But there was no doubting Tyrone Peachey’s opening try when he picked up an errant pass from Matt McIlwrick to race the 20m to the tryline.