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NRL: Penrith suffer fourth World Club Challenge loss

Penrith Panthers slipped to yet another World Club Challenge defeat when losing 16-12 against Super League champions Wigan Warriors.

The Panthers have now had four attempts at winning the title, losing each one, but the latest defeat will be particularly hard to take.

Penrith are feeling hard done by after a number of refereeing decisions went against them, including Wigan’s winning try.

The Panthers also had what could have been a match-winning try ruled out by the video referee in the final minute.

But, take away all the controversy, how did the Panthers look during the 80 minutes and are they ready for the 2024 NRL campaign?

Panthers not at their best

The Panthers have every right to feel a little hard done by after the refereeing decisions went against them.

But on the whole, most agree, that Wigan deserved to take their record-equalling fifth win, as Penrith were not at their best.

Ivan Cleary’s side fell below the standards they set themselves, and despite the controversy, it is the main reason they lost.

On a number of occasions they were caught with the ball on the fifth tackle, while they were not at their fluent best in attack.

Nathan Cleary had his moments, scoring a try and kicking a conversion, to give the Panthers a first-half lead, but he was also out of sorts at times.

The star playmaker threw a pass into touch in the second half which lead to Wigan’s controversial winning try.

Missed opportunities

Despite not being at their best, the Panthers still had opportunities and speaking after the game coach Ivan Cleary admitted they failed to take them.

Cleary was happy with the field position that the Panthers had in both halves of the game, but they did not make it count.

Wigan were more clinical, taking the fewer chances created, and it cost the Panthers the game.

Turuva concerns add to woes

Just to rub salt into the wounds of the Panthers, there is also an injury concern over Sunia Turuva.

The 2023 NRL Rookie of the Year, picked up a leg injury in the second half of the game and could play no further part.

The Panthers will be sweating on his fitness and will be praying it is nothing serious.

No need to panic for Panthers

The Panthers will be extremely disappointed to lose yet another World Club Challange, after also going down against St Helens in 2023.

It is the one trophy that has so far eluded them, and it remains to be seen if they will get another chance.

However, they bounced back well from the St Helens disappointment to win the 2023 NRL grand final and will look to do the same in 2024.

They can be forgiven for looking a little rusty, as it is effectively still pre-season.

It took them a few games to get going in the 2023 season, but they came good in the end and can be backed at 3.75 to go on and win a fourth grand final on the bounce.

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