The Panthers have continued their superb start to the season in Holden Cup with a 40-16 thrashing of the Newcastle Knights at Pepper Stadium.
Coach David Tangata-Toa was forced in to reshuffling his team following the withdrawal of Jarome Luai from the starting side, with Sam Martin-Savage shifting to the halves and Mose Feilo taking his spot in the centres.
The Panthers made a blistering start to the match with a 40/20 from the opening set creating the tone for a rampant first half.
An overlap on the left edge allowed Caleb Aekins to continue his fine early-season form as he opened the scoring for the hosts, before Dean Blore converted from out wide.
The score was pushed out to 10-0 after ten minutes thanks to a perfectly timed cut-out pass from Martin-Savage.
Another well-orchestrated attack on the left flank ended with the stand-in five-eighth feeding Daniel Brown in the corner.
The Panthers crossed over for their third try after 13 minutes through Blore as they opened up a 16-0 lead, before complacency started to creep in and allowed the visitors to strike back.
Nash Birch made a long-range break from inside his own half and linked up Heath Gibbs on his inside to put the centre over to cut the deficit to 16-6 midway through the half.
The home side regrouped to strike back in the 25th minute through Liam Martin, courtesy of a sublime offload from Stefano Hala, to restore their 16-point advantage at half-time.
HALF TIME: Penrith Panthers 22 – 6 Newcastle Knights.
The visitors started brightly following the restart with a try to halfback Hayden Loughrey.
Matt Cooper broke free of some lacklustre Penrith defence and created a two-on-one as he sent Loughrey through to bring the Knights back within ten points.
However, just like the first half, the Panthers refused to let their opponents back in the game.
Sustained defence on their own line helped keep the visitors at bay before Brown’s second try just shy of the hour mark broke the Knights’ resolve.
Wayde Egan crossed over moments later and Mitch Kenny scored ten minutes from time as the Panthers’ dominance began to be reflected on the scoreboard as the score pushed out to 40-12.
A consolation try to Mitchell Andrews for the Knights added little respectability to the score line for the visitors as the Panthers continued their impressive start to the season with a 40-16 victory.
FULL TIME: Penrith Panthers 40 – 16 Newcastle Knights