Star forwards Isaah Yeo and Viliame Kikau have suffered potentially season-ending injuries as Penrith’s horror show of a season reached new lows in Wagga.
The Raiders embarrassed the Panthers 30-12 after leading 14-0 at half-time – the fifth time this season that Penrith have failed to score a first half try.
The Panthers were out-classed and out-enthused in a disappointing performance that exposed their extremely poor discipline and lack of any real threat in attack.
The meat platter of errors from @PenrithPanthers includes; drop outs over the sideline, one-on-one strips, strip penalties, cold knock-ons, 5th tackle penalties, kicks rolling dead.
— David Riccio (@DaveRic1) May 4, 2019
But coach Ivan Cleary’s biggest headache ahead of next Friday’s clash against Wests Tigers is injuries to Yeo and Kikau, who are both likely to be out for extended periods.
Yeo suffered a shoulder injury in the first half and did not return while Kikau went down in severe pain with a knee or ankle injury in the second half.
Malakai Watene-Zelezniak also left the field in the second half with a rib cartilage problem.
It’s tough being a Panthers fan in 2019. At least last year the stress was often relieved in the dying moments of the game. Now we’re the same undisciplined side without the exciting attack.#NRLRaidersPanthers
— michael (@onemoremichaeI) May 4, 2019
Penrith is now a team in crisis.
The side has won just two of their opening eight matches. No team has won the premiership from such a position but even the Finals look like a long shot for Cleary’s side at present.
Against the Raiders today Penrith completed just 68 per cent of their sets and fumbled their way to 13 errors.
“We just couldn’t get out of our own way really,” Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said post-match.
“We’re in this position and at the end of the day it’s going to make us stronger.”
— NRL (@NRL) May 4, 2019
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.