The Warriors, too, had an impressive run in their game, where they further solidified their place within the top-four by triumphing over Gold Coast with a 28-18 scoreline. The match was challenging for Gold Coast as, from early on, they were down to 12 men after the dismissal of Moeaki Fotuaika.
In the clash at Penrith, the Panthers were left hopeful that Jarome Luai wouldn’t face repercussions from his past actions, as he was put on report over a shoulder charge during their overwhelming victory against the Storm.
The Storm struggled against a formidable Panthers, marking the latest team to be consumed in ‘the Battle of the Mountains.’ The impending second consecutive minor premiership for the Panthers seems increasingly likely, given their consecutive six victories.
A shadow of uncertainty looms over Luai’s continued involvement, given that his conduct during games against Manly, Gold Coast, Parramatta and North Queensland, seems likely to be scrutinised. Luai was put on report by referee Adam Gee after he executed a shoulder charge on Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona without attempting to wrap his arms.
This incidence, which occurred in the 47th minute, saw the Kiwi international drop the ball following Luai’s charge. Luai, who has been charged twice before this year, may face a four-match ban if he is again charged for a similar shoulder charge.
Despite these concerns, Penrith’s performance during the match, further confirmed their status as an NRL powerhouse. Accomplishing victories in 33 out of their 36 home games since the beginning of 2020 is a testament to their strength.
Early penalties were traded between Nick Meaney and Nathan Cleary. However, Young Tonumaipea‘s efforts eventually put the Storm in command during the 15th minute. Soon after, Storm‘s winger George Jennings was forced to retire due to an assumed MCL injury, alongside players Jahrome Hughes, Xavier Coates and Reimis Smith.
Stephen Crichton and Luai scored, following a smooth corner finish by Brian To’o, securing a 20-6 advantage for the Panthers at half-time. To’o maintained the momentum, scoring again in the 50th minute. Consequently, Penrith’s methodical play successfully stifled the attacking momentum of the visitors.
Moeaki Fotuaika, the prop from Gold Coast, was the second NRL player to be sent off in less than a day during the Warriors‘ victory 28-18 victory. The previous night, Nathan Brown, a Sydney Roosters forward, was sent off after a dangerous high shot on Manly’s Ben Trbojevic.
In the 17th minute, Fotuaika was penalised for a shoulder to the head of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, leaving the latter dazed. The contest’s heated nature was eminent through the sending off of Warriors‘ number one and Fotuaika within a short span.
Chris Randall from the Titans received a warning after a high shot on Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Warriors‘ winger, within the first 14 minutes. This event marked the beginning of an intense first half, which was followed by a face slap by Marata Niukore, a Warriors‘ second-rower, on his counterpart David Fifita. As a result, Niukore was sin-binned in the 19-minute mark.
Johnson managed to manoeuvre past the Titans on his first score and was later assisted by Watene-Zelezniak, leading to a 12-6 lead for the Warriors at half-time. Following this, conflict intensified as a try by Ford was created by Johnson, but the Titans stayed in the game courtesy of a try by Stimson as a result of a grubber-kick.
Displaying quick reflexes, Campbell caught an intercept near his line and sprinted across the field, equalling the score at 18-18. The final seven minutes of the game saw Harris and Watene-Zelezniak scoring the final tries, securing a 28-18 victory for the Warriors, who are now on track for a top-four finish, with 32 points.