Nowhere near purr-fect

Penrith Panthers beat the Wests Tigers at their own game plan: defend, defend, defend.

The 35-12 loss puts a sizeable dent in the finals aspirations for the Wests Tigers who now sit in 14th spot on the NRL ladder.

Penrith ran in seven tries to two in front of 14,234 people at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday afternoon.

But the game was well and truly won by the defensive effort by the Panthers who read plenty of Wests Tigers plays like they were best-sellers: comprehensively and often.

Perhaps one of the biggest talking points from the game came after centre Tim Simona succumbed to an ankle injury in the first half.

Second-rower Kyle Lovett was moved to the centres. Penrith took advantage of Lovett's obvious discomfort on the left edge, constantly attacking and catching Lovett out of position.

At 24-12 and about 18 minutes left of the clock, the call finally came from Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor for Chris Lawrence to move from the second row back to his familiar centre position, resulting in appreciative applause from the crowd.

But in another sign nothing was going the way of the black, orange and white, Lawrence went off injured just a few minutes later.

The decision to leave Lovett at centre for so long left angry fans questioning Taylor's tactics.

But Taylor was adamant that the team's defensive effort as a whole contributed more to the loss.

Luke Brooks was hit with a grade one contrary conduct charge for a headbutt on Penrith prop Jeremy Latimore after the half-time siren and Delouise Hoeter was also charged with "dangerous contact - other".

Both players will be available to play next week if they take early guilty pleas.

This story Nowhere near purr-fect first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.


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