Penrith stays top of NRL table with tough win over Dolphins

Penrith scored two late tries to deny the Dolphins in a 24-14 NRL win in Redcliffe on Sunday.

Penrith scored two late tries to deny the Dolphins in a 24-14 NRL win in Redcliffe on Sunday. Photo: AAP

An understrength Penrith has held out a desperate Dolphins outfit to retain top spot on the NRL ladder, with Izack Tago and Tom Jenkins scoring doubles in the 24-14 win.

The Dolphins fought back from a 12-0 half-time deficit to lead with 12 minutes to go at Redcliffe before winger Jenkins crossed twice.

The star for the Panthers was centre Tago, who scored his third double in four games and set up Jenkins with two precision passes.

Nathan Cleary’s return from a hamstring injury was put on ice for another week and the Panthers rested their NSW Origin quartet of Isaah Yeo, Stephen Crichton, Brian To’o and Liam Martin.

The win took the Panthers to 30 points and equal with the Broncos.

It is a remarkable effort by Ivan Cleary’s men who have emerged from Origin with a third premiership in a row on the cards.

Panthers prop Moses Leota got the visitors on the scoreboard early with a charge-down try.

Tago then went on a scintillating 70m zigzag run to the line, beating three Dolphins defenders including half Sean O’Sullivan twice.

He was in again off a precision Jack Cogger bomb and the Panthers led 12-0 after 16 minutes.

The Dolphins made four line breaks and had other near misses in the first half but the Panthers scrambled to snuff out chances.

It was no surprise when Cogger was sin-binned after multiple ruck infringements by the visitors near their tryline.

Dolphins fullback Kodi Nikorima burrowed over to cut the defending premiers’ lead to 12-4 at the break.

Dolphins second-rower Connelly Lemeulu had the sold-out crowd of 10,065 in raptures when he grubber-kicked for himself to score in the 51st minute.

The chant of “Redcliffe, Redcliffe” was in full voice when centre Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow charged over four minutes later to give the Dolphins the lead.

The Panthers refused to relent under the Dolphins onslaught and Tago held up the final pass to perfection to put Jenkins over in the corner in the 68th minute.

When he repeated the dose at the death it was game over and likely season over for the Dolphins as far as finals football is concerned.

On 20 competition points, four outside the top eight, they must win five of their remaining six games to have a shot at finals.

Dolphins prop Jarrod Wallace was put on report for a shoulder charge on Spencer Leniu.

Topics: NRL
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