‘Horror’ as NRL clash gets ugly

The Panthers share the competition lead with the Storm but have plenty of work to do to stop the defending premiers going back-to-back after battling to overpower the brave and luckless Warriors.

The Warriors played the entire second half with no bench players and it took big games from Panthers stars Liam Martin, Viliame Kikau, Isaah Yeo and Brian To’o to seal the deal 30-16 at Suncorp Stadium.

There was late concern for Penrith prop James Fisher-Harris who left the field in the closing minutes after he grabbed at a knee after Kikau had landed on his neck.

The Panthers did eventually unveil their class, but Nathan Brown’s men had everything against them after losing veteran forward Tohu Harris to a knee injury and then inspirational skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck with concussion following a sickening collision with Matt Burton’s hip.

Oh Roger. That is not nice to see. #NRLWarriorsPanthers

Horror start for the Warriors. Tohu Harris off with a knee injury, then Roger Tuivasa-Sheck starched in making a tackle and surely won't be back. Not the goods #NRLWarriorsPanthers

Getting to the point where no bench kills @NZWarriors. Panthers unleashed in open footy, but Warriors always going to fall away when 4 gone before 60 minutes #NRLWarriorsPanthers

There was real concern for Tuivasa-Sheck with the game halted for several minutes to check on his welfare. He had barely field when hooker Wade Egan followed him up the tunnel with a shoulder injury in the 17th minute to leave the Warriors with one man on the bench.

Through it all the Warriors refused to yield with a rampaging Matt Lodge and whiz kid Reece Walsh both setting up tries to give them a 10-4 lead.

When centre Rocco Berry went off with a knee injury on the cusp of halftime it was dire times for the Warriors.

Panthers halves pairing Matt Burton and Tyrone May set up tries in the first half but struggled to manage the game with any authority until the Warriors were out on their feet. The Panthers will be sweating on the return of Origin halves Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary to get their attack humming again and to close the widening gap that the juggernaut Storm are opening up on the rest of the competition.

The Panthers won their third game at Suncorp Stadium this year. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Martin Motors

The introduction of NSW powerhouse Liam Martin in the 25th minute changed the game for the Panthers with his energy and competitiveness giving his side momentum that led to two tries and a 16-10 halftime lead. Martin chimed in with a ‘Falcon’ courtesy of his kick pressure which saw the ball ricochet deep back into Warriors territory. When the man known as the ‘Temora Terror’ charged over for his third try of the season in the second half the Panthers were home and hosed. Martin was Penrith’s most influential forward but had a close ally in Kikau who scored twice, the first try after great kick pressure on Chad Townsend.

Terrific To’o

Wind him up watch him go. The Panthers and Blues winger has an insatiable desire for work and more work and clocked up another 200-plus running metres tally. To’o has now reached the 200m mark 11 times this season and he is on track to break Tuivasa-Sheck’s record of 15 occasions in the one season, set in 2015. To’o scored his usual try and made a tough ask look ridiculously easy.

Lodge lands

After an unsettled ending to his Broncos career Lodge appears to have found a home where he will thrive at the Warriors. He was on fire on his return to Suncorp Stadium with his charging runs and offloads a real handful for the Panthers. The Warriors injury crisis also forced Lodge to play the entire game. In tandem with Addin Fonua-Blake, who was the best forward on the park, the duo can become one of the leading starting front-rows in the competition. Their bravery under duress was a reflection of the spirit the Warriors played with.

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