Edwards appeared to be struggling with a shoulder injury for much of the game, but he continually showed up on defense and grabbed a try as the Panthers earned their 18th win of the season.
The Raiders drew first blood in the ninth minute when inspirational forward Josh Papalii powered from close range for his third try of the season. Jamal Fogarty’s conversion made it 6-0.
It took just three minutes for Penrith to fight back after a Raiders error gave them their first attacking opportunity and hooker Api Koroisau burrowed in.
A penalty against Hudson Young for a push on Chris Smith as the Panther chased a bomb gave Stephen Crichton an easy shot to make it 8-6 at the Premiers after 22 minutes.
Three minutes later, the Panthers extended their lead to eight when substitute running back Sean O’Sullivan attempted a try for Crichton with a heavy left-footed grubber.
A blow for the home side at the end of the first half when prop Joseph Tapine left the field with a rib injury before Penrith fell to a man for 10 minutes with James Fisher-Harris sent off for a high shot.
The Raiders then had a number of straight sets attacking the Penrith line, but Edwards’ superb clearing job and last resort defense kept the Green Machine at bay.
The home side lost a man in the first minute of the second half when Nick Cotric hit Edwards high and was sent to the trash.
Penrith then produced a special long-range try with the handling of O’Sullivan twice before Edwards pulled away to make it 20-6 for the defending champions.
The Raiders continued to squander their chances and the Penrith defense refused to back down, with Koroisau, Isaah Yeo and Liam Martin going through a mountain of work.
Jaeman Salmon, five eighth for the Panthers, put the result beyond doubt in the 66th minute when he scored from close range to make it 26-6.
Suffering only their second loss of the season in Round 20, the Panthers fought back superbly, overcoming the absence of playmakers Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai and star rower Viliame Kikau to wrap up the minor premiership. .
- Raiders mainstay Joseph Tapine was charged in the 24th minute for a crushing tackle on James Fisher-Harris.
- Panthers mainstay James Fisher-Harris was indicted and sentenced eight minutes before halftime for a high shot on Ryan Sutton, who failed his HIA. Canberra’s 18th Man Ata Mariota came on in the 52nd minute as Sutton was sent off with a reportable infringement.
- Raiders winger Nick Cotric was booked in the first minute of the second half for a high shot on Dylan Edwards.
- Panther halves Sean O’Sullivan and Jaeman Salmon handled everything Canberra threw at them, racking up 45 tackles between them on the edges.
- The Panthers have won eight of their last 10 games against the Raiders.
- Josh Papalii’s first try was the 59th of his 258-game career.
- Dylan Edwards ran for 162 yards and had nine tackle jumps for the Panthers.
- Panthers five-eighth Jaeman Salmon was placed on the report in the 60th minute after being sent off and his boot made contact with Tom Starling.
- Sunia Turuva came on in the 69th minute on her NRL debut for Penrith.
- Albert Hopoate did a good job at the back for Canberra with 18 points for 166 yards.
- The Raiders haven’t defeated the Panthers in Canberra since week two of the 2016 series finale.
Game of the game
Playing his 100th game in the NRL, Dylan Edwards celebrated in style in the 46th minute when he completed a magnificent team attempt to extend Penrith’s lead to 14 points. Hooker Api Koroisau started the move for his side halfway before finding Isaah Yeo who sent the ball to James Fisher-Harris. The playmakers followed up the move with Sean O’Sullivan twice and Scott Sorensen also involved before Edwards swooped in to score his seventh try of the season.
what they said
“Very proud of the boys tonight. Canberra had a lot to play for and they definitely had the upper hand early in the game so to be able to bounce back straight away and score that helped, and I think when we got down to 12 men who was the turning point. the way we reacted to that. It galvanized the team and gave us a lot of confidence. Just a good win for our club all in all.”
– Panthers coach Ivan Cleary
“I’m not walking away from that discouraged because there was so much effort put in by the boys, but we just let ourselves down by…the tries they scored, those are tries we stop every week. And just somebody- tackles in one, not getting their shot. It doesn’t scare me because we’re better than that defensively. We started the game so well and I knew we would do it, we were in very good shape and it’s not okay We’re in survival mode and that’s how we’re going to play and we’re not going to let this result tonight stem the way we’ve prepared and come close so we ‘ I’ll bounce off this and we’ll do it again.” – Raiders coach Ricky Stuart
The Raiders are at home to the Dragons in Round 22 before traveling to Newcastle to face the Knights the following week. They end the regular season with games against Manly (h) and Wests Tigers (a).
The Panthers open Round 22 with a standout game against the Storm at Bluebet Stadium before facing the Rabbitohs at Accor Stadium in Round 23. The Premiers’ final two games are against the Warriors (h) and Cowboys (a ).
Story first published on NRL.com
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