The Hunters have become the hunted after the Panthers thumped Papua New Guinea 42-18 in the Intrust State Championships at ANZ Stadium.
Tony Satini was in inspired form to score four tries and put the Panthers out of sight by the half-time siren to give the Garth Brennan-coached outfit a perfect ending to a memorable season.
A lacklustre start from the Panthers saw them overturn possession and concede a penalty to allow the Hunters to take the lead in the 3rd minute thanks to Ase Boas’ penalty goal.
However, they quickly regrouped and a treble to Tony Satini before the halfway point of the first half tipped the contest heavily in their favour and laid the foundation for a Panthers onslaught.
The explosive centre kept up his recent try-scoring exploits by getting the better of his opposite man to score in the corner to take the lead, before putting the finishing touches on a Christian Crichton line-break from the resulting restart.
His support play came to the fore again when Viliame Kikau broke through the Hunters defence and found Satini on the outside to dive over for his hat-trick.
Darren Nicholls was successful with two of his three attempts to push his side out to a 16-2 lead.
Nicholls extended their lead further in the 21st minute when he found a pocket of space to exploit close to the line. The skipper converted his own try to make the scoreboard read 22-2.
Kikau turned provider to scorer on the half-hour mark when he brushed off a handful of defenders to crash over the Hunters try line. Nicholls again converted to make the score 28-2.
Crichton was next to get in on the act in the 37th minute as he dived upon a loose ball in the Hunters end zone after Nicholls’ kick in to the area was misjudged. His conversion made it 34-2.
With the siren going off in the background, the Panthers ran in their seventh try of the half as Satini celebrated a double hat-trick to send his side in to the break with an emphatic 38-2 lead.
HALF-TIME: Penrith Panthers 38 – 2 PNG Hunters
The wave of momentum continued for the Panthers in the 48th minute when Jed Cartwright fed Maika Sivo with a one-handed offload to get on the scoresheet and push the lead out to a 40-point margin.
Jarome Luai was put in the sin-bin in the 65th minute for impeding a chaser, allowing the Hunters to post their first try of the game through Adex Wera. Boas’ conversion was successful to make it 42-8.
They followed it up moments later with a tries to Bland Abavu and Boas to add some respectability on the scoreboard but it would matter little as the Panthers ran out 24-point victors to ensure the celebrations for a memorable season would continue another week.
FULL-TIME: Penrith Panthers 42 – 18 PNG Hunters