The ISP Panthers continued their rich vein of form with a dominant 48-18 victory over Illawarra at Pepper Stadium on Saturday.
Bryce Cartwright made a successful return from injury, scoring a try and having a hand in several others, while his cousin Jed Cartwright bagged a double.
Some Bryce Cartwright magic put the Panthers on the front foot leading to the opening points for Tyrone May midway through the half. Mitch Rein was felled short of the line after Cartwright released Liam Martin, but Darren Nicholls took advantage of a retreating defence to put May over next to the uprights, allowing Nicholls a simple conversion.
The May-Nicholls combination struck again to double their side’s lead just shy of the half-hour mark. Another perfectly-timed short ball from Nicholls put his halves partner in a slight gap with May doing the rest by rolling his way over the line. Nicholls again converted to make it 12-0.
A convincing opening half got even better for the Panthers on the stroke of half-time when Jarome Luai fed Jed Cartwright to go over in the corner. Nicholls’ third conversion sent the Panthers in to the break leading 18-0.
HALF-TIME: Penrith Panthers 18 – 0 Illawarra
Cartwright was saluting again following the restart when another Martin linebreak created an overlap for the centre to cross over out wide. Nicholls sunk the sideline conversion to make it 24-0.
Crafty footwork from Luai led to Sivo’s second in the 48th minute. A half break on the left edge from the fullback reeled in the defence, leaving Sivo open out wide for a simple put down. Nicholls would again slot the conversion to make it 30-0.
More Bryce Cartwright magic and awareness from Martin led to the latter grabbing a deserved try on the hour mark. Cartwright’s angled run and offload found a supporting Martin to straighten the attack and break through the Illawarra defence. Nicholls’ boot pushed the lead out to 36-0.
After his involvement in the lead up to two tries, Bryce Cartwright had one of his own in the 66th minute after reeling in a pass one-handed to cross over next to the uprights allowing the simple conversion for a 42-0 lead.
Jack Payne handed the visitors a consolation try when he applied the finishing touches to a long-range effort in the 69th minute, which was converted, to make it 42-6.
Jesse Dee got their second moments later for some added respectability on the scoreboard. Taane Milne converted to make it 42-12.
Despite their momentary lapse, the Panthers clicked in to gear to score through Luai with five minutes left on the clock to push back out to 48-16, with Nicholls kicking a perfect eight from eight.
There was still time for Illawarra to get another through Josh Kerr but it would barely dent the Panthers spirits as the hosts scored an impressive 48-18 win.
FULL-TIME: Penrith Panthers 48 – 18 Illawarra