7 August, 2021
The Panthers have stamped themselves as genuine premiership contenders following their courageous win over the high-flying Dunedoo Swans in round 15 of the Christie and Hood Castlereagh League on Saturday, July 24.
The Swans would have been red hot favourites going into the match after the Panthers disappointing loss to Coona the week before, but the Panthers came out of the sheds all fired up and it only took them five minutes to open the scoring when Brandon Hammond steamed onto a perfect pass from Luke Ritchie to score between the uprights.
Ritchie converted the try but from the restart the Panthers fumbled the ball to give the Swannies easy metres and not long after, their crafty hooker, Ben Thompson found a gap in the panther defence to dive over next to the sticks.
Dan Lane converted and evened the scores at 6-6.
Both sides were happy to use the ball and create a great spectacle for the supporters from both sides and after a scrum win in the eighteenth minute, Mitch Bamblett crossed in canteen corner much to the delight of the Panthers faithful.
Ritchie converted and the Panthers were up 12-6.
With the torrid defence, tensions started to rise and referee Trudgett dispatched players from both sides to the sin bin to cool off before half time. The Panthers went to oranges with a six-point lead and the home crowd could sense an upset.
The second half started with the same intensity, but it was Dunedoo who cracked the Panther’s defence after 11 minutes when big Ben Gallagher crossed between the posts. Lane converted to tie the game up again, but only five minutes later, George Alchin, who was having a powerful game for the Panthers, latched onto a high bomb from Ritchie to touch down in the corner.
Ritchie once again converted from the sideline and the Panthers were up 18-12. With nine minutes remaining the Panthers received a penalty ten metres out and right in front of the sticks. Ritchie had no hesitation stepping up and slotting the simple shot at goal to give the Panthers an important eight-point buffer.
With five minutes left on the clock, Chance Burgess steamrolled his way over the Panther’s defence to touch down.
Lane made it 20-18 and in the final few minutes both sides threw everything at each other, but much to the delight of the Panther supporters, the boys in the brown and white clung on for a great victory in a great team effort. The whole seventeen players stepped up for the Panthers, but they were led from the front by Captain-Coach Ash Hazelton along with Hayden Smith who was always damaging with his powerful runs into the defence, although he did have to leave the field for a short time to check on some important equipment.
George Alchin was great in both attack and defence whilst both wingers, Kyzah Louie and Mitch Bamblett made plenty of ground for the home side every time they touched the ball.
The Pinkies showed that they have the class and finally the belief that they can mix it with the best when they went down in a fantastic game of league tag against competition hot shots, the Swannettes.
In a tight first half the Pinkies were the only team to trouble the scoreboard with Emily Fardell crossing out wide after twenty-four minutes and the home side went to the break leading 4-0.
Dunedoo opened the scoring in the second half when Alexis Gallagher scored a converted try to take the lead 6-4 but three minutes later Allira Ashby crossed in the corner to wrestle the lead back for the Pinkies 8-6.
That lead was short lived however when Hayley Cox scored another converted try for the visitors to make it 12-8 to Dunedoo.
The Pinkies fought hard and with thirteen minutes remaining, Tori Canham charged down a kick by the Swannies to score. Shian Chatfield converted to give them a two-point lead, 14-12 but Gemma Mitchell scored and Kerrie Ward kicked her third conversion for the afternoon to give the Swanettes victory in the dying minutes.
The Pinkies were obviously disappointed to lose but they can take great confidence out of the match after pushing the reigning premiers all the way.