Penrith’s Finals hopes are hanging by a thread after a 22-18 loss to Souths at Panthers Stadium tonight.
The Panthers were brave but Souths set up a lead and defended it well, albeit on the back of several controversial refereeing decisions.
Officiating aside, the Panthers had plenty of opportunities to grab the lead in the second half but failed to nail the crucial plays required to secure a much-needed win.
Souths took a 10-2 lead into half-time but Penrith returned for the second half with a newfound energy, producing some of their best football of the season to reduce the lead to 10-8.
The Panthers looked on top for much of the second half but couldn’t convert crucial chances.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said his side would take a lot of out of the game in what was “easily” the best performance of the season so far.
“I feel like it’s something we can definitely build on. We looked likely pretty much the whole game but we just couldn’t take our chances,” he said.
“They were good enough to take their chances. It’s a pretty slick operation they have going there.”
Penrith are now two wins from their first seven matches.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.