Panthers enter race for NRL spoon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Panthers enter race for NRL spoon

By Laine Clark 24/07/2005 09:00:38 PM Comments (0)

Forget South Sydney and Newcastle, Penrith looms as the NRL wooden spoon favourite after a rollercoaster round 20.

The Panthers suffered their ninth loss in 11 matches - a 38-18 thumping to North Queensland on Saturday night - to be just four points clear of last-placed Newcastle and only one ahead of perennial cellar dwellers South Sydney.

With five regular season games left, Penrith faces the very real possibility of grabbing the spoon just two seasons after walking away with the premiership.

But then again, it has been one of those seasons.

St George Illawarra coach Nathan Brown conceded that the 2005 competition was "bizarre" - and a quick look at the NRL ladder indicates why.

While Brisbane (32 points) heads the table ahead of Parramatta (26), the next six teams - from third placed Melbourne to eighth Manly - sit on 26 points.

And just three points separate ninth-placed Bulldogs (23), 10th Canberra (22), 11th New Zealand (20) and 12th Sydney Roosters (20).

"The competition is so different now. It's bizarre. Nobody in the history of the game has ever seen a comp like it," Brown said after the Dragons held out Cronulla 20-10 at Oki Jubilee Stadium.

But Brown believed the cream would soon rise to the top.

"There are definitely some false teams in the eight in my opinion. There are some teams in the clutch of 13 teams that couldn't win in September - (but) there are some teams who can up the ante and push on with it.

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