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13 May, 2022

Panthers too strong for Swans

Christie and Hood Castlereagh League

By Supplied

Friday night football returned to McGrane Oval to open round three of the Christie and Hood Castlereagh League competition when the Panthers hosted the Dunedoo Swans in front of a huge crowd under lights last Friday.

Coming off a huge loss against Coonamble the pre- vious week, the Swannies had something to prove for their loyal band of supporters and they started in perfect fashion when they had the Panthers on the back foot in the opening minutes, and after a series of penalties against the home side, Brad Sheridan forced his way over from close range in the eighth minute for an uncon- verted try to give Dunedoo a 4-0 lead.

The Panthers re-grouped and soon after captain- coach, Jamie Towney hit back for the home side when he scored next to the posts midway through the first half. DJ Smith converted, and the Panthers hit the lead 6-4. That lead was short lived however, when the Swannies received more penalties against the ill-disci- plined Panthers, and their big replacement forward, Tyrone Walker crashed through to score out wide. Dan Lane made no mistake with the conversion and Dunedoo went to a 10-6 lead with 15 minutes remaining in the first half.

With only two minutes left on the clock in the first half, Tyson Searle took on the Panther defence and touched down out wide. Lane converted and the

Swannies took a healthy 16-6 lead to oranges. Some stern words from coach Towney during the half-time break had the desired effect and five minutes after the resumption, hardworking second rower, Kenny Johnson crashed over for the Panthers in front of the home crowd. DJ Smith closed the margin to only four points, 16-12, with his conversion and for the next 20 minutes the game became a real arm wrestle for both sides as they threw everything at each other.

The Panthers found themselves a man short late in the half with the referee dispatching one player to the sin bin for a 10-minute breather.

The Panthers continued to probe for a hole in the Swans defence and with 12 minutes remaining, DJ Smith, who was leading the way for the Panthers all night, struck with a great solo effort to score next to the posts. Smith converted his own try and the Panthers were back in front 18-16

With the home crowd cheering them to win Ashley Hazelton powered through the tiring Swannies defence with only four minutes left on the clock to score down the eastern side and make it 22-16 and the Panthers were seemingly in control, but a loose ball found Dunedoo hammering the Panther line in the last seconds to try and snatch a draw. Finally, the bell rang and the Panthers hung on for a gritty win over a determined opposition and the Panther faithful left the ground happy with the two competition points in the bag.

The Panther pack were good all night with Kenny Johnson and Blake Frost combining well in the second row along with Brandon Hammond who led the way with his powerful defence at lock forward. Halves

DJ Smith and Shane Ritchie were also good for the home team, while Evan Ryan continued his great start to the sea- son with another strong game in the cen- tres.

After a fantastic unbeaten start to the season, the Pinkies came crashing back to earth when the Swannettes gave them a football lesson in their Friday night clash. The Swannettes crossed in the opening minutes and the tries kept com- ing at regular intervals until the half time hooter sounded and they took a 32-0 lead to the break.

Coaches Louie and Wood tried to get the Pinkies back on track with some much-needed advice and for the early minutes of the second half the girls were able to hold their own even threatening the Swannettes line on a couple of occa- sions. The Dunedoo girls showed their class however, and they had racked up

another 24 points in the second stanza to give them a 56-0 victory over the Gil girls. The Pinkies, although disappointed with the result now know that they have to lift their game to the next level if they are to threaten in the premiership race.

This Saturday the Pinkies and Panthers make the road trip to Gulgong to take on the Terriers in what should be two quality games of footy.

The Pinkies will start the day and they will be looking to erase the memo- ries of last week when they come up against the Terrier girls.

The Panthers will also be in for another tough game against a quality Gulgong side who are always hard to beat on their home patch.

Coach Towney will be looking to select his best squad for the game, and it should be a good team with a strong bench.

All roads lead to Gulgong on Saturday with junior league kicking off the day early in the morning and hope- fully the Panther fans can make it a great day with a leisurely drive to watch the footy action. 

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