Dylan Edwards bagged a double as the ISP Panthers sparked in attack to thrash Newcastle 44-18 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
Te Maire Martin was instrumental for the visitors, scoring a try and having a hand in four more to lead his side to a dominant win.
An error-riddled opening from the Panthers gifted the Knights field position and they made the visitors pay in the 5th minute through Thomas Cronan. A high kick was fumbled and fell in to the hands of Cronan who got past Lachlan Stein to score in the corner. Nick Meaney’s shanked kick fortuitously crept over the crossbar to give his side a 6-0 lead.
That try kicked the Panthers in to gear, forcing an error from the kick-off and capitalising on the resulting set through Mitch Rein. Corey Waddell managed to free an arm to get an offload away to the hooker for the simple put-down next to the uprights in the 8th minute. Darren Nicholls comfortably converted to level scores at 6-all.
The visitors had the lead in the 12th minute courtesy of some soft hands from Martin. The playmaker stood the Knights defence up before freeing Jack Hetherington with a perfectly weighted pass to run through a gap close to the line. Nicholls failed to add the extras keeping the score at 10-6.
A high-tackle from Hetherington caused a scuffle and led to his sin-binning in the 25th minute, allowing the Knights to run in their second try through Tom Hughes. Meaney brushed off the defence to create an overlap before releasing Hughes out wide. Meaney added the extras to give his side a 12-10 lead.
An error on halfway allowed the Panthers to strike back and reclaim the lead on the half-hour mark through Nicholls. The halfback wrestled his way to the line and managed to free his arm to plant the ball down. Dylan Edwards took the conversion to make it 16-12.
With Hetherington back on the field and parity restored, the Panthers proceeded to run in two late tries to take a stranglehold on the game.
A well-worked set play cracked the Knights defence apart when Martin found Sione Katoa who fed Edwards back on the inside to race through and score, before Edwards was on hand again to capitalise on Rein’s line break on halfway to score under the posts. He would convert both of his tries to give his side a 14-point lead at the break.
HALF-TIME: Newcastle Knights 12 – 28 Penrith Panthers
The rout continued in the 50th minute when Martin turned from provider to scorer, going through a gaping hole in the Knights defence. Edwards’ conversion was off target, keeping the score at 32-12.
Martin was running the show for the guests as they put the contest to bed midway through the second half. His boot would provide Rein with his second try on the hour mark, before his towering bomb was spilled and fell kindly for Michael Oldfield to score just moments later. Edwards sunk both kicks to push the score line out to 44-12.
Meaney scored and converted his own try for the hosts late on but it would only be a consolation as the Panthers closed out the game.
FULL-TIME: Newcastle Knights 18 – 44 Penrith Panthers