NRL: Panthers upset Titans

Michael Jennings of the Panthers is congratulated by teammates after scoring. Photo / Getty Images
Michael Jennings of the Panthers is congratulated by teammates after scoring. Photo / Getty Images

Penrith signed off at Centrebet Stadium for 2012 in style with 36-22 win over Gold Coast in Saturday afternoon's NRL clash.

A Brad Tighe hat-trick and a stirring display from halfback Luke Walsh sealed the win which all but ended the Titans' finals hopes in front of a crowd of 7297, and boosted the Panthers' hopes of avoiding the wooden spoon.

In a game played in brilliant sunshine, the home side's giant forward pack, led by Tim Grant, offloaded the ball to great effect to ensure a winning farewell to injured captain Luke Lewis and fullback Michael Gordon, who both join Cronulla next year.

The Titans took the lead after just three minutes through a David Mead try following some smart work from hooker Matt Srama, but the hosts hit back almost immediately through Tighe.

Walsh broke the line with ease and squared the pass to the onrushing centre who showed a clean pair of heels to William Zillman to score under the posts.

The perfect afternoon conditions allowed both sides to throw the ball around in an entertaining encounter, and they exchanged quickfire tries through Scott Prince's effort for the Titans, before Tighe added his second after latching onto Clint Newton's popped pass.

But on the stroke of halftime, Michael Jennings darted over for his ninth four-pointer of the season as the Titans' defence was caught flat-footed by Walsh's grubber-kick.

John Cartwright's side closed the gap seven minutes after halftime when Zillman took advantage of some soft defending to dance over the line for his sixth try in as many games.

However, Prince was unable to level the scores when he missed the conversion, and Penrith iced the result with two tries in two second-half minutes.

Josh Mansour, who has enjoyed an encouraging first season, combined brilliantly with Jennings on the left wing to race to the line, and the NSW star scored his second of the game following a superb Walsh pass.

Tighe added some extra gloss to the scoreline with his hat-trick seven minutes from time, before Mark Minichiello grabbed a late consolation for the visitors late in the game.

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 22 Apr 2014 00:26:40 Processing Time: 513ms