The Panthers Intrust Super Premiership NSW side have thrashed the Wests Tigers 52-12 at Campelltown Stadium to continue their fine start to the season.
Garth Brennan made a host of late changes for his side, most notably the inclusion of Moses Leota.
It was Leota who gave the side an early boost when he opened the scoring after five minutes.
The powerful prop ran on to a short ball from dummy half and crashed over next to the posts before Darren Nicholls slotted over the easy conversion to give the Panthers an early six point lead.
The Tigers hit back immediately through Christian Yassmin. The ball shifted to the right and some quick hands opened up space for the winger to touch down in the corner before Jordan Rankin levelled the scores at six-all with his sideline conversion.
The Panthers didn’t have to wait long to regain the lead thanks to the creativity of Nicholls.
The halfback received the ball and attracted the attention of two defenders before laying off a perfect cut out pass for Ratu Tuisese to score after 15 minutes. Nicholls’ conversion would strike the upright as the Panthers held a 10-6 lead.
That lead was pushed out to ten points midway through the half when Corey Harawira-Naera sliced through the Tigers defence and found Tyrone May back on the inside to go through under the posts.
Despite having numerous opportunities to add to their lead, the Panthers weren’t able to capitalise after some sloppy handling.
The Tigers made them pay when they went up field and scored through Justin Hunt after the half hour mark.
Some free-flowing football pulled the Panthers defence out of shape and the crafty Hunt managed to step his way through to the line to bring his side back to within four points.
The scoring didn’t there as May orchestrated another Panthers try on the stroke of half time.
The fullback started off the set with a strong run off his own line and ended it by putting Lachlan Stein through a gap to score. Nicholls’ successful conversion gave his team a 22-12 lead at the break.
HALF TIME: Wests Tigers 12 – 22 Penrith Panthers
A scrappy opening to the second half saw the errors and penalty count rise before the Panthers elected to take a shot at goal following a penalty. Nicholls duly converted from right in front of the posts to take his side’s lead out to two converted tries.
From then on, the floodgates opened for the visiting side.
Samisoni Langi took the line on and managed to get an arm free to offload to Harawira-Naera for his second try of the day before two barnstorming efforts from Corey Waddell and Paea Pua stretched the lead out to 40-12.
Nicholls continued to wreak havoc on the Tigers defence as he laid off another assist for Wadell’s second try before holding the ball up perfectly for Zach Dockar-Clay to bring up the half ton for Penrith as they raced out to a 52-12 victory.
FULL TIME: Wests Tigers 12 – 52 Penrith Panthers