The young Panthers shook off a lacklustre first half to score a convincing 38-12 win over Wests Tigers at Pepper Stadium on Sunday.
Dean Blore’s opener ten minutes in to the contest got the Panthers off to the perfect start after a show-and-go from the halfback fooled the defence, before converting his own try to make it 6-0.
Wayde Egan combined with Brad Gaut to carry the home side in to Tigers territory before Egan put Tevita Mapapalangi over the line with a crafty offload to double their lead midway through the half.
A penalty on halfway helped the Tigers up field to post their first points of the game when Josh Bermingham fed Liam Pakau to dive over in the corner to bring it back to 12-4 on the half hour mark.
The visitors had their second three minutes from the break when Jai Doolan charged down a kick and released James Tautaiolefua to race clear of the defence. The winger failed to convert his own try as his side went in to half-time trailing 12-8.
HALF-TIME: Penrith Panthers 12 – 8 Wests Tigers
Early back-to-back sets in the Tigers half allowed the Panthers to extend their lead in the 45th minute when J’maine Hopgood forced his way free of a tackle and fell over the line to make it 16-8.
Despite a scrappy affair playing out, a touch of class from Ray Maroun split the Tigers open as the hooker scored a 50 metre solo effort to take his side out to a two-converted try lead at 20-8 after an hour.
The Panthers stretched out to a three-try lead five minutes later when debutant Daine Laurie dived over out wide, before Blore’s sideline conversion took his to a 26-8 lead.
The Tigers hit back in the 69th minute Jakob Giles took advantage of a late offload and lazy defence to go over untouched and bring the score back to 26-12.
But the Panthers would have the last say when a grubber from Sam Martin-Savage sat up perfectly for Dan Brown to score out wide, before Stefano Hala barged his way to the try line to seal a comfortable 38-12 win and move the Panthers in to outright second on the Holden Cup ladder.
FULL-TIME: Penrith Panthers 38 – 12 Wests Tigers