Rugby League

NRL 2019: Penrith Panthers loss to Wests Tigers, James Maloney, Nathan Cleary, Viliame Kikau,

Unless there’s some kind of minor miracle, Penrith’s season is over.

A top four spot looks out of the window. Top eight seems a huge stretch.

Against the Wests Tigers they were blown off the park in the first half and never really recovered.

Here foxsports.com.au picks apart where things went wrong against the Tigers.

Round 9

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MATCH CENTRE: Wests Tigers v Panthers

Woeful defence

The Panthers were no match for the Tigers’ attack in the first half as Michael Maguire’s side ran in five tries in the opening 18 minutes.

In the entire game they missed 36 tackles and considering how their opposition had just 38 sets, that more or less equates to a missed tackle in ever set.

Lack of attack

While their defence had been exploited by the Tigers, the Panthers found next to no way to break through.

If the Tigers were a cricket side, they had essentially declared and said: ‘come and have a go’. Penrith, however, didn’t.

By halftime, they had only been tackled in the Tigers’ 20m six times and managed just one try in the entire 80 minutes.

Tigers score 5 in 18 mins

Tigers score 5 in 18 mins

1:24

Halves half-cooked

“It’s very hard for this young guy at this club, his forwards are just getting dominated,” Gorden Tallis said of Nathan Cleary.

In the entirety of the game Cleary made just one offload, four tackles and zero linebreaks or try assists.

His halves partner James Maloney was not much better, conceding two penalties, making one error and only kicking for 116 metres.

Another woeful Panthers performance will have done nothing to help the chances of either retaining a NSW Origin jersey.

Panthers press conference

Panthers press conference

9:19

Fijian’s fitness?

When Viliame Kikau went down last Saturday against Canberra, it looked like he could be out for a while.

So it was a surprise to see him back for the Panthers against the Tigers.

His teammates jokingly called him the ‘miracle man’, but there was nothing miraculous about his play. Usually one of the Panthers’s top-performers, he struggled to make an impact, only breaking one tackle in 66 minutes of action.

Mansour mucks it up

Not so long ago Josh Mansour was one of the most impressive wingers in the game.

Against the Tigers, he looked a shadow of his former self.

He was caught on the last tackle when Penrith found themselves in a handy field position.

Mansour made one brilliant break in the second half, but instead of looking inside for support tried to take on Moses Mbye.

There was only one winner as the Tigers fullback bungled him into touch.

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