The SG Ball Panthers found some form in taking down North Sydney Bears 34-16 at Panthers Stadium on Saturday.
Hat-trick hero Jeremy Stowers was electric on the wing while Sadee Sub Laban’s attacking flair was on full display, with the five-eighth recording a try and two try-assists.
After a disappointing 42-18 loss last weekend, the Panthers were eager to bounce back and made a statement immediately after hooker Taylan May barged over to score within the first two minutes.
Penrith then went back-to-back when a looping ball from Sub Laban created an overlap out wide and Ezra Coulton linked with Stowers who dived over in the corner.
The Panthers extended their lead in the 15th minute when Braiden Magele steamed through a gaping hole before being pulled up 10 short of the line. With the Bears defence staggered, Penrith quickly shifted it left and Stowers had his second of the afternoon.
Stowers had the crowd cheering moments later when he transformed a routine scrum feed on Penrith’s own 10 metre line into a genuine try-scoring opportunity. The speedy winger burst straight through the middle before being dragged down on halfway and drawing a crucial penalty.
It gifted the Panthers another shot at North Sydney’s line and they didn’t waste the opportunity. With space out on the left edge, Sub Laban cleverly held the ball up before hitting Coulton on the chest as the centre steamed over.
The Bears eventually hit back in the 20th minute when winger Luke Butfield strolled over in the right corner.
But it proved a minor inconvenience for Penrith as they recorded their fifth try of the half in the 28th minute. Sub Laban was at it again, this time putting through a deft kick which was scooped up by Coulton.
HALF-TIME: Panthers 24 Bears 6
Having had a hand in three of their tries in the first half, Sub Laban was rewarded with a four-pointer of his own in the 45th minute when he pounced on a ricocheted grubber.
But a costly forward pass off the restart saw Penrith hand possession right back to North Sydney and Ryan Weatherall barged over in the left corner moments later.
The Panthers were still up 30-10 and pushed further ahead when Stowers went over for his third try of the afternoon.
In a seesawing second half, the Bears were the next to score when Ali Chara crossed over in what would be the final try of the game.
FULL-TIME: Panthers 34 Bears 16