Panthers off the pace in Roosters defeat
A scrappy Panthers outfit fell to a 32-6 loss to the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.
The result was compounded by injuries to Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Corey Harawira-Naera, who both failed to return from head injury assessments.
The Roosters opened the scoring in the 6th minute after Joseph Manu intercepted a James Maloney pass and Blake Ferguson touched down in the corner. Latrell Mitchell crept in the conversion and the Roosters went ahead by six.
The Roosters then stretched their lead in the 9th minute when Luke Keary went short to Isaac Liu, who slipped away from Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to score. Mitchell converted via the upright to stretch the Roosters lead to 12-0.
The host's blistering start continued when Latrell Mitchell's flick pass gave Keary room to move, and Zane Tetevano crashed onto a ball by the five-eighth. Mitchell added the conversion to stretch the Roosters advantage to 18-0 after 16 minutes.
However after Maloney won the ball back for the Panthers from the kickoff, the Panthers struck back as Nathan Cleary turned the football inside to Dean Whare who powered through the Roosters goal line defence. Maloney then narrowed the margin to 18-6 with the conversion in the 19th minute.
Tyrone Phillips appealed for a try in the 22nd minute after Tyrone Peachey batted a Maloney grubber back into the field of play for the winger, however the football scraped the dead ball line.
A penalty against the Panthers in the 37th minute allowed Mitchell to add another two-pointer and hand the Roosters a 14-point lead at halftime.
HALF-TIME: ROOSTERS 20 - PANTHERS 6
Cooper Cronk delivered the Roosters prime attacking position in the 49th minute with a 40/20, however their momentum was halted by a neck injury to Mitchell.
However the Roosters bounced back from the setback as Joseph Manu's flick pass sent Ferguson over in the 54th minute. Ferguson then added the conversion from the sideline to take the Roosters out to a 26-6 lead.
The Panthers came close to narrowing the margin in the 58th minute when Whare made a line break and the football was shifted left to Phillips, however the winger was stopped short of an incredible try as Joseph Manu made an impressive try-saving tackle.
The Panthers then suffered another blow in the 60th minute as Peachey was sent to the sin-bin for ushering Manu off the football.
The Roosters put the game to bed in the 70th minute when Daniel Tupou dotted down at the end of a shift to the short side. Ferguson converted to make it 32-6.
FULL-TIME: ROOSTERS 32 - PANTHERS 6