A reshuffled NYC Panthers side was put away 52-32 by the Gold Coast Titans at Pepper Stadium on Saturday.
An error from the kick-off gifted the visitors the advantage in the 2nd minute when Moeaki Fotuaika crashed over from close range, which was converted, to make it 6-0.
The Panthers drew level inside five minutes when Caleb Aekins pierced the Titans defence and raced clear of the chasers to make it 6-all after Dean Blore’s successful conversion from the sideline.
However, as soon as they got level, the Titans ran in back-to-back tries to open up a ten-point lead.
A right-sided raid caught the Panthers defence short allowing Curtis Dansey-Smaller to dive over out wide, before Phillip Sami barged his way through some feeble defence. Ethan Roberts would land one from two attempts to help push the scoreline out to 16-6.
Skipper Wayde Egan took it upon himself to try get his side back in to the contest in the 20th minute when he went alone from dummy-half to bring it back to 16-12, following Blore’s conversion.
But again the Titans would run in consecutive tries to race away from the home side.
A set-play from the Titans halves orchestrated space for winger Tre Williams to go over in the corner in the 26th minute, before Daniel Brownbill applied the finishing touches to an expansive move that pushed the Titans out to a 26-12 lead five minutes from the break.
The Panthers crossed over on the stroke of half-time when Vondel Williams-Liolevave was put in the clear by Aekins to trail 26-16 at the break.
HALF-TIME: Penrith Panthers 16 – 26 Gold Coast Titans
Much like the first-half, the Titans were celebrating a try inside the opening two minutes when Brownbill bagged his second of the game to make it 30-12.
Fotuaika also had a double in the 50th minute when the Titans went the length of the field, ending in the prop chasing down a grubber to plant the ball beneath the black dot. Roberts’ conversion made it 36-12.
Alexander Brimson made the Panthers pay for some lacklustre marking when he stepped through a hole in the defence to score just shy of the hour mark to put his side 42-16 ahead.
Brimson turned provider moments later allowing Sami to grab his second try after the halfback drew the attention of the defence to put the centre in the clear for a 46-16 lead.
The points continued for Sami as he celebrated his hat trick in the 67th minute, which was converted, to extend their lead to 52-16.
Late tries to Mose Feilo, Daniel Brown and a first for Ben Cartwright in Panthers colours, added respectability to the scoreline but the Titans proved too good, sealing a convincing 52-32 victory.
FULL-TIME: Penrith Panthers 32 – 52 Gold Coast Titans