Warriors punished by Panthers in sixth straight loss

updated By Te Ao - Māori News

The Warriors poor run of form has continued with a 30-16 defeat to the Penrith Panthers at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on Sunday. 

The Panthers were first to dot down in the second minute, but the Warriors struck back with two quick tries of their own moments later, the first to hooker Wayde Egan.

Rocco Berry ran in the Warriors' second try from a pass from Reece Walsh that put him through the gap to give the New Zealand side a 10-4 lead inside the first 20 minutes.

But the Panthers scored two further tries before the break to swing the game back their way at halftime, the most spectacular of them a four-pointer to Tyronne May inside the corner flag.

The Panthers picked up where they left off after the break, piling on the points to race out to a 30-10 lead with less than half an hour gone in the second spell with the second of their three tries splitting apart the Warriors defence. 

Walsh finally pulled one back for the Warriors with less than 10 minutes left in the game handling the ball twice in the movement. It would prove to be the last points in the game. The Warriors sinking to a 30-16 defeat.

With only 7 games left before the finals series begin, the Warriors find themselves languishing at 13th on the NRL ladder.

However, Nathan Brown has been able to recall some big names from injury and isolation ahead of today's match against the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane triggering mass changes. 

Veteran backrower Tohu Harris has recovered from a shoulder injury earlier than expected and takes his place in the starting lineup, pushing Eliesa Katoa to the interchange bench and Bunty Afoa out of the matchday 18. 

Mid-season halves recruit Chad Townsend has also made a quick return from a shoulder injury to take his place in the side where he will be joined by captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck who has been named to start at standoff. 

Euan Aitken has been named to return at centre after he and Josh Curran completed their mandatory 14-day isolation. They were passengers on a Virgin Australia flight on June 26 from the Gold Coast to Sydney in which a cabin crew member tested positive to COVID-19. 

Aitkens return means Marcelo Montoya has been pushed to the wing, allowing Brown to put Tuivasa-Sheck to the halves. That sees Kodi Nikorima relegated to the interchange bench, with Curran, Katoa and Leeson Ah Mau. Sean O'Sullivan drops out of the 18 altogether. 

The match has been moved to Queensland due to the NRL relocating all NSW based clubs north of the border because of the swell in the number of cases in the latest Covid-19 outbreak. The Warriors have not won a match in Queensland since 2019, and the task at hand does not get any easier with Panthers coach Ivan Cleary able to recall Brian To'o, Isaah Yeo, Kurt Capewell and Liam Martin from State of Origin Duty on Wednesday night, while fullback Dylan Edwards returns from a foot injury. Penriths star halves pairing of Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary are still sidelined with respective injuries. 

A Warriors win today will snap their 5-game losing streak, and keep their finals chances alive. However, the Panthers have won 7 of their last 9 clashes against the Warriors.