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Panthers look to bounce back against Bears

After a near miss last week, the Wests Brisbane Panthers will be looking to bounce back when they host defending champions Burleigh in Round 5 of the SEQW Division 1 competition.  

The Panthers played out a gritty 12-10 loss to Easts Tigers in Round 4 which sees them sit in fourth spot on the ladder with two wins and two loses.

Despite the closeness of the game, the Panthers were far from their best with ball in hand and coach Craig Green said that their handling woes were probably the difference between winning and losing on the day.   

“I said to the girls it was 10/10 for effort and defence, but execution was maybe a 2/10,” he said.

“When we improve in a few areas we’ll be competitive all year. We’ve got a lot of new players and we’re trying to get some structure in place.

“We’re just trying to now work on our completions, our attack and getting the girls used to playing with each other and understanding how each other plays in attack.”

They may have completed poorly and cost themselves a chance at victory, but they did defend well.

In fact, if you take out a 34-0 Round 1 loss to Brothers Ipswich – where they fielded only 13 players and fatigued in the second half – the Panthers have been the best defensive team in the competition.

In their past three games, they have conceded just 22 points and coach Green said that defence was the key behind his team’s building form and confidence.

“I think all teams need to have good defence and build their game around their defence,” he said.

The Panthers will be put to the test when they host three-time defending premiers Burleigh tomorrow (Saturday).

Kicking off at 1.30pm from Kev McKell Oval, the Panthers will be without star player Kate Haren, but are confident that they can get a result if they front up defensively again and are better at the basics with ball in hand.

“They’re a very physical side,” Green said of his opposition. “They’ve been together for numerous years. They’ve got a lot of players that have played with each other, they’re very physical and they’re the benchmark of the women’s comp over the last three or four years so it will be a good test for us.

“We’ve got to hang in there, stay in the contest, complete our sets and get some good field position. If we can do that, I’m fairly confident that we can get away with a win this week.”

Elsewhere in the fifth round of SEQW Division 1, Souths host Easts at Brandon Park from 1.30pm on tomorrow (Saturday) while on Sunday, Brothers Ipswich take on Toowoomba at Swifts Rugby League Football Club from 12pm.  

Full results, fixtures and standings for all three SEQW divisions