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Isaah Yeo of the Panthers is tackled by Shaun Johnson of the Warriors.
Penrith Panthers v Vodafone Warriors

The Vodafone Warriors' best start of the season was destroyed by a withering Penrith second half comeback in today's Indigenous Round clash at Pepper Stadium.

So withering the Panthers scored five tries and an unanswered 30 points to turn a 6-28 halftime deficit into a scarcely believable 36-28 victory.

Between the 47th and 59th minutes they banked 24 points of their second half harvest to take a 30-28 advantage.

Under the pump with little possession and constantly defending, the Vodafone Warriors hung in for the next 15 minutes trying to find a way back into it to set up an opportunity.

It didn't come, the defensive line breached again with Tyrone Peachey racing away to score the fifth try of the half and Nathan Cleary converting from wide out to seal it.

The outcome didn't seem possible after the Vodafone Warriors' first half performance.

By just the 17th minute of the match they were already 16-0 ahead.

In the sixth minute, there was some dazzling handling on a last tackle play with Issac Luke, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, David Fusitu'a, Blake Ayshford and Bodene Thompson all involved before Kieran Foran scored his second try of the season. Shaun Johnson's conversion boosted the lead to 6-0.

Soon after the Panthers threatened down their left only for right wing David Fusitu'a to intercept with the line 80 metres away. He couldn't quite kick clear of the chasing Waqa Blake, who hauled him down 10 metres short but held on too long and was sin binned for a professional foul.

The Vodafone Warriors wasted no time taking advantage of the under-manned Panthers, shifting wide to the left, nice hands putting left wing Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad over for his first NRL career try in his second appearance.

With Blake still off, a lead of 10-0 after 13 minutes became 16-0 after 17 minutes with another superb left edge attack, the sweetest of passes from Sam Lisone opening up the defence for Ryan Hoffman to cross.

Penrith recovered some poise with an Isaah Yeo try which came about rather too easily but the damage was temporary as a lovely Foran grubber gifted a second try for the impressive Nicoll-Klokstad in the 33rd minute. Johnson added a superb conversion and then, right on halftime, the Vodafone Warriors had a real bonus.

Looking for some reward to go to the  break with, the Panthers flung the ball left but a speculative pass was plucked out by Fusitu'a and this time he went the distance to score for a 28-6 halftime lead. 

The complexion of the match changed after halftime, with disastrous consequences for the Vodafone Warriors after the break.

The Panthers, renowned for their willingess to air the ball, turned the affair on its head with tries in rapid succession to Yeo, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Blake and Matt Moylan before Peachey deepened the disappointment for the Vodafone Warriors.

They had no answers on defence as 30 points flowed, the Panthers with a mortgage on possession.  



Pepper Stadium, Penrith

Penrith Panthers 36 (Isaah Yeo 2, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Waqa Blake, Matt Moylan, Tyrone Peachey tries; Nathan Cleary 6 conversions).

Vodafone Warriors 28 (Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2, Kieran Foran, Ryan Hoffman, David Fusitu'a tries; Shaun Johnson 4 conversions).

Halftime: 28-6 Vodafone Warriors.

Referees: Ben Cummins and Chris Sutton.

Vodafone Warriors | Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c); David Fusitu'a, Blake Ayshford, Solomone Kata, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad; Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson; James Gavet, Issac Luke, Jacob Lillyman; Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman; Sam Lisone. Interchange: Nathaniel Roache, Ligi Sao, Ben Matulino, Bunty Afoa.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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