Panthers unconcerned by late fadeouts

It was the third time in the opening four games they’ve lost a contest at the death, but Penrith coach Anthony Griffin said it was still a good learning experience for his team.

The Panthers blew a late lead against St George Illawarra on Sunday, going down 14-12 after Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop nailed a clutch kick in the 76th minute to steal a tough NRL win.

Griffin’s men had also faltered against Canterbury a fortnight ago as rookie Kerrod Holland kicked his team to victory after the siren and then back in round one where the Panthers lost a cliffhanger to Canberra.

But Griffin, who now has just one win in four matches after taking over from coach Ivan Cleary, said he wasn’t concerned by their late-game fadeouts.

“No, it’s a big lesson for us,” he said post-game.

“The positive is in general we’ve got a really tough football team there that’s competing every week. We just need to be smarter about what we’re doing. We’re just killing ourselves.”

The former Brisbane coach was proud of the effort, but bemoaned some choices in attack.

It was the third time this year the Panthers (14) had hit double digits for errors.

“We shot ourselves in the foot all day. Our effort just kept getting us back into the game but we made some really poor decisions with the ball, particularly coming out of our own end,” he said.

“Obviously a mountain of effort going on there. We were turning up for each other defensively today but I felt like we never got on the right leg in attack the whole day.”

The Panthers will also be sweating on the fitness of Bryce Cartwright, who failed to return to the field in the second half after dislocating his finger.

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