Group 16 battle of the big cats: Panthers take on Tigers

THINGS got a little heated between the Candelo-Bemboka Panthers and the Eden Tigers on Saturday. 

Tensions were running hot as the Panthers took the field to prove themselves in the Group 16 competition for a pre-season twilight match. 

In spite of a few flaring tempers and occasional boilovers, the match provided exceptional football with both teams playing hard and fast and using clever plays. 

The Panthers went try for try with the Tigers, but faltered late in the second half to go down 32-28. 

Candelo-Bemboka had Eden on the back foot early after an early kick saw the Panthers regather for a try.

Just a few sets later the Panthers also launched a 40-20 kick to keep pressure on their opponents. 

However, a couple of key Panthers were injured in the first half, which took its toll on the rest of the squad. 

Wade Irvin took a heavy hit to the chest and came off, while Jason Heffernan suffered a hand injury that forced him from the paddock. 

John Dickson was forced to work hard in the forward pack to keep play moving forward, while Bobby Taylor was key at dummy-half. 

The Panthers took a solid lead in the first half, but Eden was determined to fight back. 

A few heavy hitups and shoulder charges brought things to a head as tempers blew over between the two captains. 

Both were sent from the field shortly before half time. 

When play resumed the Tigers’ big front line started to work over the Panthers, while the quick wingers saw play moving forward. 

Eden broke through for a pair of converted tries with about 12 minutes left on the timer. 

The Tigers had jumped ahead to a 10-point lead at 28-18. 

Eden crashed over the line again, but was unable to convert and the scoreline started to blow out. 

However, the Panthers consolidated their efforts and had Ben O’Reilly dive across the line. 

With just seconds to spare the Panthers crashed over again, but missed the conversion and ended proceedings 32-28 in favour of the Tigers. 

The Roosters under 18s also played against the Merimbula-Pambula Bulldogs and brought home a convincing win in a fiery clash. 

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