JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary rues missed opportunity in loss to Cronulla Sharks

Panthers 16 Sharks 18

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

The Gus and Webby Show

Phil Gould and Andrew Webster discuss the big issue of player depression and Wayne Bennett's new job at the Broncos.

PT0M0S 620 349

As it happened: Panthers v Sharks

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary says Saturday's shock loss to Cronulla was an opportunity missed but insists he is still trying to work out his best team just six weeks out from the finals.

He might have another big decision ahead after halfback Peter Wallace picked up another knee injury that threatens to sideline him for an extended period leading into the finals.

Fend-off: Cronulla's Andrew Fifita palms away Panthers forward Lewis Brown.

Fend-off: Cronulla's Andrew Fifita palms away Panthers forward Lewis Brown. Photo: Getty Images

Time
80.00
Team
PEN
Score
16
Team
CRO
Score
18
Penrith versus Cronulla
View Match Statistics
Players Watene Zelezniak, Naiqama, Whare Tries 3 Tries 4 Players Gagan(2), Gordon, Tagataese
Players Soward 2/3 (66%) Conversions 2 Conversions 1 Players Gordon 1/4 (25%)
Players Penalty goals 0 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Field goals 0 Field goals 0 Players

The 18-16 loss to the Sharks is Penrith's second on the trot, and Cleary says there are plenty of questions being asked of his side after a strong start to the year.

"We're still a new team," Cleary said. "We've got enough to work out, we're still trying to work out combinations and which is our best team. It's just another section of the season. It's been a disappointing couple of weeks for us but that's all part of it. We have got to bounce back and move on.

"The next six weeks is the time of year when you want to be climbing into your best footy instead of going the other way."

Main man: Andrew Fifita put in a match-winning performance against the Panthers in Bathurst.

Main man: Andrew Fifita put in a match-winning performance against the Panthers in Bathurst. Photo: Getty Images

The Panthers' decision to take their home game to Carrington Park in Bathurst did not pay dividends. Penrith squandered a golden opportunity to cement a top-four finish and all but ended any hope of their first minor premiership since 2003.

The Panthers came into the round in equal second with the Bulldogs, just two points off competition frontrunners Manly, but the second big upset of the round may just prove costly for Cleary's men.

Given the Sydney Roosters were stunned by the Knights in Newcastle on Friday night, a win for Penrith on Saturday would have given them a four-point buffer on the fifth-placed Roosters.

"We just want to try and finish as high as we can, but when you start looking too far ahead, you start losing your way," Cleary said.

"The reality is and what we've seen over the last couple of weeks in the competition, it's such a tight comp. It's been like that the whole year. We've seen enough upsets for everyone to understand if you start looking too far ahead and work out who is going to finish where and what not, you might just take your eye off the ball. At this point, we've just lost two in a row, so the next focus is making sure we play well next week."

Wallace had missed the Panthers' past two games after suffering separate knee and ankle injuries in round 17 and was again taken from the field in the first half after picking up a knock, but returned later in the half after receiving an injection.

The Sharks led by two points with 20 minutes remaining, showing incredible resilience in defence to withstand a late Panthers onslaught to hold on to a rare two competition points. 

It was Andrew Fifita, who has been dogged by injury and suspension for the most of this season, who inspired Cronulla to just their fifth win of the term in front of a crowd of 8824.

Fifita finished the game with 20 runs, 211 metres, 29 tackles, eight offloads, two tackle breaks, one line break and one try assist in one of the finest displays by a front-rower this season.

"It's hard for the defence, I don't think he knows what he's doing half the time," stand-in skipper Wade Graham said. "He's just a big thing running around, playing footy. When he's like that he's certainly a handful and can produce some special stuff for the team."

Graham also congratulated the Panthers on bringing their game out to Bathurst, despite playing on a heavy track. "I reckon it was a great initiative from Panthers, they have to be congratulated as well as the community out at Bathurst," Graham said.

"It was unreal to see the hill, you couldn't see a patch of grass on the hill. It was a great atmosphere ... it felt like we [wound] back the clock to when we were playing at 16 or 17."

3 comments so far

  • Its all downhill from here for the pennies. Melting when the heats on. Seen it all before.

    Commenter
    1970 Panther
    Location
    Penrith
    Date and time
    July 26, 2014, 7:37PM
    • It was nice to see Fafita back in good form. It must be the North Korean haircut.

      Commenter
      Reader
      Location
      Home
      Date and time
      July 26, 2014, 9:20PM
      • Although Penrith didn't get the result they should be commended for taking the game to the people. Each team should be required to take a minimum of 2 home games to regional (national/international) centres. The games in Mackay and Cairns were great to watch last year as was last nights game in Bathurst. Even if the same area gets two or three teams play there each year, it would be such a boost for the NRL and the area its self. Places to consider: Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton, Mt Isa, Bundaberg, Sunshine coast, Toowoomba, Darwin, Alice Springs, Perth, Adelaide, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Rotarua, Bathurst, Central Coast, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Ballina, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, PNG.

        Commenter
        Trenno
        Date and time
        July 27, 2014, 11:57AM

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        Related Coverage

        NRL Season 2014

        Round 1
        Thu, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
        SOU 28 vs SYD 8 Report Stats
        Fri, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BUL 12 vs BRI 18 Stats
        Sat, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
        PEN 30 vs NEW 8 Report Stats
        MAN 22 vs MEL 23 Report Stats
        NQL 28 vs CAN 22 Report Stats
        Sun, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
        STG 44 vs WES 24 Report Stats
        PAR 36 vs NZW 16 Report Stats
        Mon, 10 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CRO 12 vs GCT 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Fri, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
        MAN 14 vs SOU 12 Report Stats
        BRI 16 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
        Sat, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
        NZW 12 vs STG 31 Report Stats
        MEL 18 vs PEN 17 Report Stats
        SYD 56 vs PAR 4 Report Stats
        Sun, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
        GCT 12 vs WES 42 Report Stats
        NEW 20 vs CAN 26 Report Stats
        Mon, 17 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BUL 42 vs CRO 4 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Fri, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
        WES 25 vs SOU 16 Report Stats
        BRI 26 vs SYD 30 Report Stats
        Sat, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
        PEN 18 vs BUL 16 Report Stats
        CRO 12 vs STG 14 Report Stats
        NQL 16 vs NZW 20 Report Stats
        Sun, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
        MAN 22 vs PAR 18 Report Stats
        CAN 12 vs GCT 24 Stats
        Mon, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
        MEL 28 vs NEW 20 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
        SYD vs MAN 8 Report Stats
        STG 20 vs BRI 36 Report Stats
        Sat, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
        NZW 42 vs WES 18 Report Stats
        PAR 32 vs PEN 16 Report Stats
        BUL 40 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
        Sun, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
        SOU 18 vs CAN 30 Report Stats
        NEW 30 vs CRO Report Stats
        Mon, 31 MarTimes shown AEDT
        GCT 13 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
        SYD 8 vs BUL 9 Report Stats
        BRI 18 vs PAR 25 Report Stats
        Sat, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
        CRO 37 vs NZW 6 Report Stats
        PEN 12 vs CAN 6 Report Stats
        STG 6 vs SOU 26 Report Stats
        Sun, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
        MEL 26 vs GCT 28 Report Stats
        WES 34 vs MAN 18 Report Stats
        Mon, 07 AprTimes shown AEST
        NQL 28 vs NEW 2 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Fri, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        PEN 2 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
        GCT 12 vs BRI 8 Report Stats
        Sat, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
        CAN 12 vs NEW 26 Report Stats
        PAR 14 vs SYD 12 Report Stats
        WES 16 vs NQL 4 Report Stats
        Sun, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
        NZW 20 vs BUL 21 Report Stats
        MAN 24 vs CRO 4 Report Stats
        Mon, 14 AprTimes shown AEST
        MEL 28 vs STG 24 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Fri, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
        SOU 14 vs BUL 15 Report Stats
        NEW 6 vs BRI 32 Report Stats
        MAN 26 vs NQL 21 Report Stats
        Sat, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
        STG 20 vs NZW 10 Report Stats
        CRO 18 vs SYD 24 Report Stats
        Sun, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
        CAN 24 vs MEL 22 Report Stats
        Mon, 21 AprTimes shown AEST
        PAR 18 vs WES 21 Report Stats
        PEN 14 vs GCT 12 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        STG 14 vs SYD 34 Report Stats
        MEL 10 vs NZW 16 Report Stats
        BRI 26 vs SOU 28 Report Stats
        Sat, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRO 24 vs PEN 20 Report Stats
        NQL 42 vs PAR 14 Report Stats
        BUL 16 vs NEW 12 Report Stats
        Sun, 27 AprTimes shown AEST
        MAN 54 vs CAN 18 Report Report Stats
        WES 6 vs GCT 22 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD 30 vs WES 6 Report Stats
        NQL 27 vs BRI 14 Report Stats
        Sat, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
        NZW 54 vs CAN 12 Report Stats
        GCT 18 vs SOU 40 Report Stats
        MEL 22 vs MAN 19 Report Stats
        Sun, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
        NEW 10 vs PEN 32 Report Stats
        STG 6 vs BUL 38 Report Stats
        Mon, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
        PAR 42 vs CRO 24 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        SOU 14 vs MEL 27 Report Stats
        BRI 22 vs GCT 8 Report Stats
        Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
        PAR 36 vs STG Report Stats
        CRO 20 vs WES 22 Report Stats
        NQL 42 vs SYD 10 Report Stats
        Sun, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAN 20 vs PEN 26 Report Stats
        BUL 16 vs NZW 12 Report Stats
        Mon, 19 MayTimes shown AEST
        MAN 15 vs NEW 14 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        BUL 12 vs SYD 32 Report Stats
        Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        GCT 16 vs NZW 24 Report Stats
        WES 14 vs BRI 16 Report Stats
        Sun, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAN 42 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
        Mon, 26 MayTimes shown AEST
        CRO vs SOU 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        PEN 38 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
        Sat, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD 26 vs CAN 12 Report Stats
        NQL 22 vs MEL Report Stats
        Sun, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
        NZW 38 vs NEW 18 Report Stats
        BRI 36 vs MAN 10 Report Stats
        Mon, 02 JunTimes shown AEST
        SOU 29 vs STG 10 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        MAN 32 vs BUL 10 Report Stats
        PAR 18 vs NQL 16 Report Stats
        Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        GCT 14 vs PEN 36 Report Stats
        STG 30 vs CRO Report Stats
        SOU 34 vs NZW 18 Report Stats
        Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
        NEW 20 vs WES 23 Report Stats
        MEL 12 vs SYD 32 Report Stats
        Mon, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAN 4 vs BRI 28 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Fri, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        SOU 32 vs WES 10 Report Stats
        Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        PEN 18 vs STG 14 Report Stats
        SYD 29 vs NEW 12 Report Stats
        Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
        BUL 12 vs PAR 22 Report Stats
        Mon, 16 JunTimes shown AEST
        GCT 20 vs MEL 24 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Fri, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAN 14 vs BUL 22 Report Stats
        Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        NZW 19 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
        CRO vs MAN 26 Report Stats
        Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
        MEL 46 vs PAR 20 Report Stats
        GCT 18 vs STG 19 Report Stats
        Mon, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
        NEW 36 vs NQL 28 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        MAN 24 vs SYD 16 Report Stats
        BRI 22 vs CRO 24 Report Stats
        Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
        WES 19 vs CAN 18 Report Report Stats
        NQL 20 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
        Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
        NZW 30 vs PEN 20 Report Stats
        PAR 10 vs NEW 16 Report Stats
        Mon, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
        STG 24 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        BUL 23 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
        Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
        STG 27 vs NQL 24 Report Stats
        SYD 28 vs CRO 30 Report Stats
        Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
        WES 10 vs PEN 26 Report Stats
        Mon, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
        SOU 10 vs GCT 14 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
        MAN 40 vs WES 8 Report Stats
        Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
        NZW 48 vs PAR Report Stats
        MEL 4 vs BUL 6 Report Stats
        Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
        GCT 20 vs CAN 36 Report Stats
        CRO 18 vs NEW 31 Report Stats
        Mon, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
        PEN 35 vs BRI 34 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 19
        Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
        CRO 18 vs NQL 36 Report Stats
        PAR 12 vs SOU 32 Report Stats
        Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
        SYD 32 vs PEN 12 Report Stats
        MEL 28 vs CAN 14 Report Stats
        BRI 28 vs NZW 22 Report Stats
        Sun, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
        NEW 8 vs GCT 22 Report Stats
        WES 46 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
        Mon, 21 JulTimes shown AEST
        STG 12 vs MAN 21 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 20
        Fri, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
        NEW 16 vs SYD 12 Report Stats
        BRI 8 vs MEL 30 Stats
        Sat, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
        PEN 16 vs CRO 18 Report Stats
        GCT 18 vs PAR 24 Stats
        BUL 12 vs NQL 20 Report Stats
        Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
        NZW 12 vs MAN 22 Report Stats
        WES 12 vs STG 28 Stats
        Mon, 28 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAN 18 vs SOU 34 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 21
        Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
        MAN 16 vs BRI 4 Report Stats
        BUL 16 vs PEN 22 Stats
        Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
        CRO 12 vs PAR 32 Report Stats
        NQL 28 vs GCT 8 Stats
        SYD 30 vs STG 22 Stats
        Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
        CAN 18 vs NZW 54 Stats
        SOU 50 vs NEW 10 Stats
        Mon, 04 AugTimes shown AEST
        WES 6 vs MEL 28 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 22
        Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
        SOU 23 vs MAN 4 Report Stats
        BRI 41 vs BUL 10 Report Stats
        Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
        NEW 32 vs MEL 30 Report Stats
        NQL 64 vs WES 6 Report Stats
        PAR 18 vs CAN 10 Report Stats
        Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
        NZW 16 vs CRO 12 Report Stats
        STG 4 vs PEN 16 Stats
        Mon, 11 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD 26 vs GCT 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 23
        Thu, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
        SOU 42 vs BRI 16 Report Stats
        Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
        PAR 16 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
        Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
        CAN 16 vs STG 34 Report Stats
        MEL 48 vs CRO 6 Report Stats
        WES 4 vs SYD 48 Report Stats
        Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
        NEW 28 vs NZW 22 Report Stats
        GCT 12 vs MAN 15 Report Stats
        Mon, 18 AugTimes shown AEST
        PEN 23 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 24
        Thu, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
        BUL 30 vs WES 10 Stats
        Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
        PAR 22 vs MAN 12 Report Stats
        Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
        BRI 48 vs NEW 6 Report Stats
        SOU 10 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
        Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
        NZW 12 vs SYD 46 Report Stats
        CRO 12 vs CAN 22 Stats
        STG 34 vs GCT 6 Stats
        Mon, 25 AugTimes shown AEST
        PEN 10 vs MEL 24 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 25
        Thu, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
        BUL 14 vs SOU 21 Stats
        Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
        BRI 30 vs STG 22 Stats
        Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
        NEW 42 vs PAR 12 Stats
        CAN 27 vs WES 12 Stats
        SYD 24 vs MEL 12 Stats
        Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
        NZW 42 vs GCT Stats
        MAN 26 vs PEN 25 Stats
        Mon, 01 SepTimes shown AEST
        NQL 20 vs CRO 19 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 26
        Thu, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 22 vs SOU 18 Stats
        Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
        MEL 22 vs BRI 12 Stats
        Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
        WES 26 vs CRO 10 Report Stats
        CAN 33 vs PAR 20 Stats
        NQL 30 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
        Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
        NEW 40 vs STG 10 Report Stats
        GCT 19 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
        PEN 22 vs NZW 6 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Finals Week 1
        Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
        MAN 24 vs SOU 40 Report Stats
        Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 18 vs PEN 19 Report Stats
        NQL 32 vs BRI 20 Report Stats
        Sun, 14 SepTimes shown AEST
        MEL 4 vs BUL 28 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Finals Week 2
        Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 31 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
        Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
        MAN 17 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Preliminary Finals
        Fri, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
        SOU 32 vs SYD 22 Report Stats
        Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
        PEN 12 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Grand Final
        Sun, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
        SOU 30 vs BUL 6 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        NRL Premiership - 2014 Ladder
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D +/- Pts
        Sydney Roosters 24 16 8 0 230 36
        Manly 24 16 8 0 103 36
        South Sydney 24 15 9 0 224 34
        Penrith 24 15 9 0 80 34
        North Queensland 24 14 10 0 190 32
        Melbourne 24 14 10 0 76 32
        Canterbury-Bankstown 24 13 11 0 7 30
        Brisbane 24 12 12 0 93 28
        View all
         
        Featured advertisers