The Penrith Panthers NYC squad have consolidated their top position on the ladder, beating the Sydney Roosters 44-30 on Saturday afternoon at Pepper Stadium.
The scoreline ended far closer than the game itself, with a late lapse in Penrith’s concentration seeing the Roosters run in four tries in the final ten minutes.
Coach Cameron Ciraldo raised a few eyebrows by sticking with the reshuffled line-up he named during the week. Dylan Edwards started at fullback, with regular custodian and skipper Brent Naden picked in the centres following his return from U20s Origin duty. The versatile Tyrone May remained at five-eighth as halfback Sam Elwin made his comeback from a jaw injury and Shane Kiel dropped off the bench.
Penrith opened the scoring after only two minutes with Elwin placing a well-weighted grubber into the Roosters in-goal and Edwards swooping on the ball to score. The conversion was successful from Edwards for a 6-0 lead.
On the back of a handling error from their next set, possession went to the Roosters and they shifted the ball wide for Joseph Manu to cross in the corner in the 7th minute. Joey Lussick missed the conversion and the Panthers led 6-4.
A 20th minute try to Corey Waddell pushed the home side further in front. The points came from a great double-pump from hooker Soni Luke to open up the hole for Waddell to cross the line.
The conversion was missed by Edwards to keep scores at 10-4.
A short side raid from the Roosters in the 24th minute saw a grubber take multiple deflections off Penrith players, allowing Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck to stroll over in the corner.
Elwin continued his smart last tackle options in the 32nd minute - this time deciding to run the ball. His long cut out ball to Logan Geyer saw the centre beat his opposite number and gift winger Fuimanu Enese a try in the corner.
A successful sideline conversion from Edwards took the Panthers to a 16-8 lead.
Four minutes out from halftime, second-rower Corey Harawira took on the line and offloaded to Braidon Burns, who used some nice footwork to get over the line. Edwards converted the try to take the Panthers to a 22-8 halftime lead.
HALF TIME: Panthers 22 – 8
The halftime break did not halt Penrith’s momentum with two quick tries in the opening ten minutes.
Tyrone May was able to shake off an earlier concussion scare, which took him from the field in the first half, to muscle his way over the line to score close to the posts in the 48th minute.
In the next set Harawira was rewarded for previous good work, scoring a try from a precision pass from Elwin. Dylan Edwards continued his sharp-shooting and his conversion took the Panthers out to a 34-8 lead.
Further pressure applied from Penrith saw Thomson Tuigimala score from a targeted run at the Roosters centre in a serious size mismatch. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful and score remained 38-8.
A long-range solo effort from Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck deep within the Roosters half brought the score to 38-12.
In the 63rd minute, Burns crossed in the corner for his second try of the day on the back of slick hands from the Panthers outside men. Another successful conversion from Edwards put the Panthers 44-12 ahead.
A late surge from the Roosters saw four unanswered tries scored by Charlie Taylor, Misieli Vaikeli, Latrell Mitchell and Jack Hetherington.
FULL TIME: Panthers 44 – 30