Digital Image by Anthony Johnson copyright © nrlphotos.com:  : 2015 NYC  Round 8 - Penrith Panthers vs Cronulla Sharks at Pepper Stadium, Sunday April 26th 2015

The Panthers NYC team have continued their recent string of strong performances with a dominating 34-4 win over the Cronulla Sharks.

Panthers opened the scoring in the second minute of the match after Dylan Edwards put a beautiful chip kick over to the corner post following our first set and it bounced horribly for the Sharks defender covering it. Fuimanu Enise picked it up and offloaded to James Fisher-Harris who dragged several Cronulla players 5m to fall over the line and get the ball down. Corey Harawira-Naera took the kick but missed, giving the home side a 4-0 lead.

The Panthers quickly followed up with their second try with Oliver Clark barrelling onto a short pass from Tyrone May to crash over the line near the left hand upright despite the defence’s best efforts in the 12th minute. The successful conversion brought the score to 10-0 in favour of the home side.  

After shared possession for 15 minutes the Panthers finally made the most of their time with the ball with a brilliant offload from James Fisher Harris on the 40 metre line, which was scooped up by Tyrone May who made short work of the remaining metres with tremendous speed, out-sprinting the weary Sharks’ defence to plant the ball close to the posts in the 28th minute. The ball sailed comfortably through the uprights to push the Panthers lead to 16-0.

The half was looking to be dominated entirely by the Panthers, but overwhelming numbers on the left hand side of the field led to the Sharks’ first points for the half in the 33rd minute. The ball transitioned from the centre of the park between multiple hands, spreading the Panthers defence thinner with every pass. Sharks fullback Ryan Cummins saw an opening and slipped the ball to Winger Levy Sopi who powered over the line in the far right hand corner. The strong wind denied them the conversion to move the score to 16-4.

But the Panthers were not done asserting their dominance for the half. A spiralling pass from Tyrone May found the capable hands of Soni Luke, whose deceptive dummy pass fooled two defenders and allowed him to slip through the final ten metres to score. The easy conversion solidified Penrith’s lead before the break at 22-4.

HALF TIME SCORE: 22-4 Panthers

The Panthers chances of opening their scoring in the first ten minutes of the half were dashed due to careless errors in attack.

But we soon settled and Maliko Filino was the next to strike after being set up with a short-side pass from an encumbered team mate who took the hit from the defence before racing the final ten metres to the try line in the 54th minute. The successful conversion increased the Panthers lead to 28-4.

The Panthers struck again shortly after with Tyrone May cutting out two defenders with a high pass that landed in the waiting hands of Fuimanu Enese on the wing to secure their second set of points. The high arching conversion from Harawira-Naera pushed the score to 34-4 in the 66th minute.

In the final five minutes, Brent Naden backed himself to run the ball from dummy half and sprinted almost the length of the field, only to be bought down by a persistent defender just ten metres from the line in the final tackle of the set. Though it wasn’t enough to secure the Panthers another 6 points, the confident play may be a glimpse of more great things to come as the Panthers continue their recent momentum with a 34-4 victory.

FULL TIME SCORE: 34-4 Panthers