Panthers win Bathurst battle

FOUR POINTS PLEASE: St Pat’s Alex Carslake scores a try in Saturday’s major semi-final against Bathurst Panthers. Photo: BEN HARRIS DSC_0040RUGBY LEAGUE
Nanjing Night Net

BATHURST Panthers have a set up a date with the Mudgee Dragons in this weekend’s Group 10 under 18s major semi-final after they disposed of local rivals St Pat’s 22-14 on Saturday at Glen Willow Sporting Complex.

The two-time defending premiers overcame a two-point deficit early in the second half to run over the top of St Pat’s at the back end of the match played in Mudgee.

Panthers coach Scott Traynor was relieved his team fought back then went on with the job.

“A big contest you know, local derbies are always tough,” Traynor said.

“My boys went good, I was really happy. Pat’s showed a lot of heart with two on the bench and they really made us work for it.”

St Pat’s mentor Kevin Grimshaw said his team was depleted because players had other sport commitments.

After leading by two, Grimshaw would’ve liked his team to go on with it.

“We were always going to tire in the middle of the ruck, but I thought we held up well,” Grimshaw said.

“There are plenty of positives to come out of it; our effort that was the main thing, we looked for a good effort and everyone did put in a good effort.

“I think we will improve because we will have a few players back which will strengthen our bench and give the guys in the middle a bit of a rest.”

Panthers opened the scoring through centre Josh Small after the blue and whites coughed up possession.

Five minutes later, Panthers halfback Joe Bugg did it all himself when he spotted a gap and raced away from Pat’s fullback Campbell Scott to score.

Holding a 12-0 lead, the men in black continued to pursue more points, but St Pat’s held them out.

St Pat’s were given a penalty deep in their half and they used the free ride up field to produce their first points for the game through centre Jade Godden.

The try gave St Pat’s plenty of confidence and after their big prop Alex Carslake crashed over from close range right on half-time, the Saints only trailed 12-10 at the break.

Momentum continued with St Pat’s into the second half when Adrian Averio scored in the corner, giving them the lead for the first time.

Panthers could have hit back straight away, but Jed Betts spilt the ball over the try line despite having a two unmarked teammates beside him.

Luckily Betts’ missed opportunity did not cost his side as Small bagged his second try only a few minutes later and with it, put Panthers back in the lead.

Panthers then started to awake from their early half slumber to get on top of their rivals.

A penalty for using an elbow against St Pat’s when they had the ball gave Panthers a fantastic opportunity.

They took it with both hands as John Malvacino scored in the corner. The sideline conversion from Ben Dolan put Panthers up by eight points and out of reach of St Pat’s.

Traynor said his team would have to step up this Sunday against minor premiers Mudgee.

“That’s what you work all year for [play in a grand final]. Mudgee won’t be easy, they are a very good team, Andy Stott has them well drilled. I expect another tough game,” Traynor said.

BATHURST PANTHERS 22 (Josh Small 2, Joe Bugg, John Malvacino tries; Ben Dolan 3 goals) defeated ST PAT’S 14 (Jade Godden, Adrian Averio, Alex Carslake tries; Campbell Scott goal)

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Posted by at 22/09/2018
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