Penrith back in premiership contention - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Penrith back in premiership contention

By Brent Read 10/09/2004 11:13:38 PM Comments (0)

It took Penrith only 20 minutes to show the NRL premiership is anything but a two-horse race.

For St George Illawarra it took a little longer - 60 minutes in fact.

The Panthers stormed out of the blocks on the opening night of the NRL finals, producing a breathtaking four-try burst in the first 17 minutes at Penrith Stadium.

It set up a 31-30 win over the Dragons - a performance which showed they are more than capable of defending their title.

"It was a bit of a nightmare," Dragons captain Trent Barrett said of the opening 20 minutes.

"They started hot and we were off the pace again. You just can't afford to do it."

Penrith skipper Craig Gower provided the inspiration for the win while Test forward Trent Waterhouse provided the muscle.

The pair combined to prise the Dragons open at will in the first half.

Waterhouse crossed for the game's opening two tries - both off Gower passes - and the pair combined to send Preston Campbell over in the 12th minute against a shell-shocked Dragons defence.

"They have developed a great little partnership," Penrith coach John Lang said of Gower and Waterhouse.

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