Panthers Tarsha Gale Cup side into inaugural season finals

The Penrith Panthers will take on the Sydney Indigenous Academy in the qualifying finals of the inaugural season of the Tarsha Gale Cup.

After finishing fifth at the end of the nine round regular season, the Panthers will take the hard route through the finals series with every game a sudden death knockout game for the side.

At the business end of the inaugural season of the nine-a-side rugby league under-18 girls competition, Panthers captain Ashlee Harrison, 17, said it had been an interesting competition.

“It’s been fun playing with all the girls and it’s the top level for our age at the moment,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to get our name in there for the future.”

Although still aiming to win the premiership, the season-long goal for the side has been improvement and development.

Penrith rounded out the regular season with a tough 24-22 loss to the Cronulla Sharks at St Marys Rugby League Stadium on April 8. Down 24-10 late in the match, the Panthers scored three late tries and seemed destined for a match-winner after the siren before a forward pass ended the game, leaving Penrith with four wins and three losses.

Panthers coach Robbie Taylor said the side will take momentum into the finals.

“From here on in, it’s do or die and we have to have the attitude that we’ve got to win every game,” he said.  “I believe the girls have the ability to do that but it’s just on the day what turns out.”

The Panthers play Sydney Indigenous Academy at 4.15pm today (Thursday)  at North Sydney Oval.