Panthers too good in grand final rematch against Magpies

The Chad Nealon Memorial Challenge Cup is heading back with the Bathurst Panthers after the defending premiers downed the Cowra Magpies in a grand final rematch on Sunday afternoon.

A dominate first half display of attack from the second-placed Panthers ensured the game wouldn't be as close as last year's decider, with the visitors running out 28-12 victors.

Panthers Captain, Doug Hewitt, said the Cup always brought out the best in the two teams.

"We've got a pretty good relationship with Cowra so it always makes for a good game," he said.

"We hit our straps pretty early, the Cowra boys gave it to us in that second half but good to come away with the win.

"Everyone actually gets up for it, has a real crack and it just shows what it meant to him back in the day, for both clubs to be playing in the good spirit like we do."

Hewitt said the team will take away plenty of positives ahead of their clash with Oberon.

"They are always a real tough game so we took plenty of positives out of today, still a few negatives there... we had a crack there today."

Magpies skipper Blake Tidswell said his side had plenty of work to do going forward.

"I said the same thing last week after we let Oberon get a good start on us, same thing today, we just can't afford to let other teams get that many points early on," he said.

"At the end of the day, just not good enough, not completing, obviously Panthers completed twice as many as we would have and its cost us in the end."

He praised his side's efforts in defence in the second half.

"We just said we would come out in the second half and just get a lot more energy and talk around the ball... there were patches there where we did, we got that quick try, we just let Panthers get too much of a start on us," Tidswell said.

"It's a very special day for us, unfortunately we couldn't bring it home but all the best to the Panthers."

Bathurst ran rampant in the first half of the game, putting on six tries against a lacklustre Magpies outfit, whose numbers have been depleted by injuries and suspensions.

Despite Cowra's Jay McClintock crossing the stripe in the first two minutes of the game, it was all Panthers in the first half, with the visitors shredding through Cowra's defence and piling on tries to head into the sheds at halftime 28-6.

The opening stanza of the second half was a carbon copy of the first, with Lee McClintock taking advantage of a Panthers mistake to take it to 28-12.

Despite being kept scoreless for the remainder of the game and resilient defence from the Magpies, the Panthers were able to hold on for the win.

BATHURST PANTHERS 28 (Jack Siejka 2, Kevin Murray, Josh Small, Blake Lawson tries; Josh Rivch 4 conversions) def COWRA MAGPIES 12 (Lee McClintock, Jay McClintock; Caley Mok 2 conversions)