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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
The Penrith Panthers have revived their fledgling season by knocking off the Sydney Roosters, 19-10, in front of 16,833 supporters at Panthers Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Sitting in 16th-position just three weeks ago, the Panthers were a class above the reigning premiers from start to finish to move within two points of the top eight.
Coming off back-to-back wins for the first time this season, the Panthers started on fire with Viliame Kikau, returning after missing last week with illness, scoring the first try inside two minutes to signal the home side's intentions.
Going close to doubling their lead minutes later only for Dylan Edwards to misdirect his pass forward, the Panthers came close to adding further points with Reagan Campbell-Gillard losing possession over the line, leaving the home side stranded on one try for the first half.
Missing a number of representative stars following Wednesday night's Origin opener and suspension, the Roosters struck back in the 27th minute through Daniel Tupou, after New Zealand international Joseph Manu was held up over the line minutes earlier.
Opting to take a shot at penalty goal on the stroke of halftime, Siosiua Taukeiaho - celebrating his 100th first grade game - was off-target with his attempt to leave the visitors trailing 6-4 at the change of ends.
Staring down the prospect of three straight losses for the first time since 2016, the Tricolours started the second half full of energy only for Tupou to be denied his second, before the defining moment of the match in the 48th minute.
With Brian To'o making a massive run from inside his own half, Manu was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul after holding down Brent Naden close to the Roosters try line.
Making the most of the one-man advantage, Kikau scored his second in the 52nd minute to give the home side a 12-4 lead, while Naden was unlucky not to post his maiden NRL try moment later after dropping the ball in-goal.
Needing to respond, the class of Cooper Cronk came to the fore in the 57th minute as a short ball for Nat Butcher sent Victor Radley over to narrow the margin to 12-10.
Coming up with an error after points, the Panthers made the Roosters pay as Naden touched down to re-establish an eight-point lead with 20 minutes to play.
With neither side unable to post further tries over the final quarter, a field goal from James Maloney three minutes from time gave the Panthers a well-deserved 19-10 win, much to the delight of their largest home crowd in over a year.
Next week, the Panthers take on the Rabbitohs on Saturday evening at ANZ Stadium, while the Roosters host the Bulldogs at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday afternoon.
Penrith Panthers 19 - Sydney Roosters 10
Venue: Panthers Stadium
Halftime Score: Penrith Panthers 6 Sydney Roosters 4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - James Maloney
2 points - Viliame Kikau
1 points - Brian To'o
PENRITH PANTHERS (19)
Tries: Viliame Kikau (2), Brent Naden
Field Goals: James Maloney (1/1)
Conversions: Nathan Cleary (3/3)
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (10)
Tries: Daniel Tupou, Victor Radley
Conversions: Siosiua Taukeiaho (0/1), Drew Hutchison (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Siosiua Taukeiaho (0/1)