Penrith has slipped into dangerous wooden spoon territory after a lifeless performance against Canberra at Centrebet Stadium this afternoon.
Losing 20-10, the Panthers were up 6-0 at half-time but offered little in the second half, with the Raiders scoring 20 unanswered points before a late Michael Gordon try added some respect to the scoreline.
Gordon had his best game since returning from injury, but it did little to help a Penrith side that was unorganised in attack, failing to take the numerous opportunities presented throughout the game and producing horror last tackle options.
Penrith looked on their game early, with Josh Mansour crossing to open up an early 6-0 lead. But despite having their chances in the remainder of the first half, the Panthers failed to capitalise on a struggling Canberra defence, particularly on the left hand side.
The Raiders looked more composed in the second half, and though it was controversial, got on the board via a Jarrod Croker try, which was given the benefit of the doubt by the video referee in the 46th minute.
Canberra broke the 6-all deadlock in the 54th minute when Penrith’s last tackle option to run the ball failed, and Josh McCrone scooted away to score.
Six minutes later, McCrone was again involved when he put in a grubber, which rebounded off Lachlan Coote into the hands of Joe Picker who crossed for Canberra’s third try.
The Raiders went to a match-winning 20-6 lead when Jarrod Croker landed a penalty goal with seven minutes to play.
Gordon’s late try – with five minutes on the clock – gave Penrith a glimmer of hope at a comeback, but despite some exciting play, their disappearance in attack for the majority of the second half eventually caught up with them.
The 10-point loss ensures Penrith stay in second last spot, with Parramatta staying in last place despite victory over the Roosters last night.
The Panthers now have a seven point for-and-against buffer, but with the Eels showing positive form at the back of the end of the season and keen to farewell Nathan Hindmarsh in style, the wooden spoon looks headed to the foot of the Mountains.
Earlier today, Canberra downed Penrith 28-22 in the Toyota Cup.