Magpies survive second half scare in win over Penrith
The Wentworthville Magpies have survived a second-half comeback from the Penrith Panthers Intrust Super Premiership team in an otherwise impressive 32-24 win at Penrith Stadium on Sunday.
Centre Nathan Davis bagged a hat-trick and hooker Reed Mahoney supplied no shortage of classy touches in the win, which was built on a powerful 24-0 opening half.
After a tense feeling out period early – in which former Panthers NYC star Andy Saunders produced some stinging hit-ups for the visitors – first points came a quarter of an hour in as five-eighth Kauri Appouri put on some impressive footwork to step through in front of the posts.
When Panther Liam Martin flung a no-look offload that was snatched up by Davis, the Magpies centre raced 40 metres to score in the 21st minute.
Davis had his double just five minutes later when he found himself on the receiving end of a stunning cut-out pass from hooker Reed Mahoney across the face of the Panthers' right edge defence.
Wenty capitalised on a Panthers error shortly after when halfback Zach Nicholls' cut-out pass hit the turf but sat up nicely for Aiono, who beat opposite man Christian Crichton to plant the ball in the left corner.
A late stripping penalty in front of the Penrith posts allowed Davis his fourth goal of the half and a 24-0 lead.
Penrith staunched the bleeding in the second half and got the hit-back try they desperately needed when bench forward Liam Martin showed good strength to push through the Magpies left side defence.
The jitters set in as Wenty produced an error inside their own 10 metres, which set the scene for Kaide Ellis to crash over off a nice Liam Coleman pass and make it 24-12 with just over 20 minutes remaining.
When Jarome Luai produced some brilliant footwork to step through the Wenty line the comeback was seriously on at 24-18 but luckily for the Magpies, Penrith came up with an error from the restart.
That allowed Wenty a rare second-half attacking set and Davis quickly capitalised, strolling through some soft defence to bag his hat-trick in the 67th minute.
The Magpies immediately returned the favour however, coming up with an error of their own from the next kick-off with Panthers hooker Wayde Egan not even needing another play to scoop up the scraps and score under the posts to get his side back within six points with 10 minutes to play.
Amazingly, a third straight kick-off resulted in an error from the receiving team with Penrith fluffing another restart and compounding that by picking up the ball from off-side, allowing Davis a simple shot at goal to extend the Magpies' lead to 32-24.
After a bizarre five minutes of rugby league, Wenty settled things down with a solid set finished off by a classy touch-finder from Mahoney and were never threatened from that point as they closed out the win.
Wentworthville Magpies 32 (Davis 3, Appouri, Aiono tries; Davis 6 goals)
Penrith Panthers 24 (Martin, Ellis, Luai, Egan tries; Keighran 4 goals) at Penrith Stadium.