The Vodafone Warriors couldn’t build on a first half lead as they slipped to a 20-34 loss to Penrith in Saturday’s seventh-round New South Wales Cup match at Pepper Park.
Centre David Fusitu’a, having only his second match of the season, scored twice in the first and fullback Glen Fisiiahi, playing his first game in more than a year, also touched down to help their side to a 16-12 lead at the break.
The Panthers dominated the opening stages of the second spell with twin strikes to leap to a 24-16 lead.
Needing to be the next to score, the Vodafone Warriors responded with a Ken Maumalo try – his first of the season – to leave the margin four points at 20-24.
There would be no follow-up, though, with the Panthers scoring another two tries to close out a 14-point win.
Despite the loss the Vodafone Warriors remain fifth on the ladder with four wins and three losses. They meet Newtown in the second match of the Vodafone Warriors’ Anzac Day tripleheader at Mount Smart Stadium next Saturday (11.40am kick-off).
Match details | Pepper Stadium, Penrith
Penrith Panthers 34 (Will Smith, David Simmons, Eddie Aiono, Nu’u Akeripa, Brendan Attwood, Sam Scarlett tries; Will Smith 5 conversions).
Vodafone Warriors 20 (David Fusitu’a 2, Glen Fisiiahi. Ken Maumalo tries; Api Pewhairangi 2 conversions).
Halftime: 16-12 Vodafone Warriors.
Referee: Damien Briscoe.
Vodafone Warriors: Glen Fisiiahi; Ken Maumalo, David Fusitu’a, Jarrod Tua, Simon Luafalealo; Api Pewhairangi, Sam Cook; Suaia Matagi, Siliva Havili, Sam Rapira; Sione Lousi, John Palavi (c); Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: David Bhana, Charlie Gubb, Nathaniel Peteru, James Bell.