Latrell Mitchell is in serious form heading into the finals. Picture: Dan Himbrechts
Latrell Mitchell is in serious form heading into the finals. Picture: Dan Himbrechts

Ruthless Latrell sends Panthers crashing out

Penrith's hopes of playing in the finals have officially come to an end following a 22-6 loss to the Roosters in front of 11,311 people at the SCG.

It's been a season to forget at the foot of the mountains, plagued with off-field drama and underwhelming results, and Panthers fans were finally put out of their misery following the 16-point loss.

It wasn't the Roosters' best performance of the season however they had too much class for the lacklustre mountain men.

The Tri-colours kept their opponents scoreless in the second half, while Latrell Mitchell and Daniel Tupou bagged tries down the left edge to secure their side's 17th win of the year.

"I thought we were good. I though we approached the game really well," Roosters coach Trent Robinson said after the match.

"We improved as the game went on and adapted to how the game was being played."

 

James Tedesco added to his season tally of tries. Picture: Mark Kolbe
James Tedesco added to his season tally of tries. Picture: Mark Kolbe

 

NOT REBUILDING

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has slammed suggestions the club is going through a 'rebuilding stage' despite the team missing the finals and blooding a number of rookies.

Cleary admitted the season has been a disappointment but denied the club is in a rebuilding phase.

"No one is calling it a rebuild," Cleary said.

"We're extremely confident about what's in front of us.

"We've made some adjustments. We've had nine debutants who have all come through our system. We're confident in our system and I know the path forward - I know what to do."

The Panthers will be without retiring five-eighth James Maloney next season and Nathan Cleary will need to form a new halves partnership with either Jarome Luai or Matt Burton.

The club will also be bolstered by the signing of Manly hooker Api Koroisau.

 

PLENTY OF COVER

The Roosters may be missing nearly 800 games of experience with Boyd Cordner, Cooper Cronk and Jake Friend sidelined, but that hasn't slowed them down heading into the finals.

Angus Crichton has done a great job of filling in for Cordner on the left edge and had another standout performance on Saturday night. He ran for 118 metres and was involved in the Roosters' second try.

Retiring halfback Cronk was a late scratching due to an eye injury, however Robinson confirmed he'll be right to play next week.

Sam Verrills, who is filling in for the injured Friend, has had a year to remember and was impressive again against the Panthers.

 

The rookie dummy-half scored his side's opening try of the night when he darted past a handful of lazy defenders to cross next to the posts. He also chalked up a game-high 42 tackles in an 80-minute performance.

"I thought Sam played really well tonight," Robinson said.

"Obviously the try in the first half under the posts and then the short pass to Latrell [Mitchell] on the left hand side. And then just his consistent service around the ruck was really good."

"Drew Hutchinson did a great job filling in for Cooper. He looked at home pretty quickly as well. He allowed us to keep everyone in their positions and play their roles. I thought that was really good."

 

Penrith’s finals aspirations ended at the SCG. Picture: Dan Himbrechts
Penrith’s finals aspirations ended at the SCG. Picture: Dan Himbrechts

 

LOCKED IN

With Melbourne defeating Manly earlier in the evening, the Roosters' hopes of claiming the minor premiership ended before a ball was kicked at the SCG.

However the win over the Panthers secured the Roosters a top-two finish, guaranteeing them at least two home finals and a second chance in the play-offs.

Although their position on the ladder can't change next weekend, Robinson said he won't be resting players as they have plenty to play for against their rivals, South Sydney.

"We're in physically good shape - you can see that by how our guys are moving," he said.

"We'll need to recover well. I'm looking forward to the fans and the banter around our area this week."

SYDNEY ROOSTERS 22 (L Mitchell J Tedesco D Tupou S Verrills tries L Mitchell 3 goals) bt PENRITH 6 (V Kikau try N Cleary goal) at Sydney Cricket Ground. Referee: Henry Perenara, Jon Stone. Crowd: 11,311

 

 

Stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14 day free trial >

 


Stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14 day free trial >