Panthers cruise to convincing win over Manly

The Jersey Flegg Panthers put Manly Sea Eagles to the sword in a 44-10 thumping at Panthers Stadium on Saturday.

Five-eighth Matt Burton was a star performer for the Panthers, scoring two tries including a superb solo effort in the last play of the game, and also assisting another.

Terrell May got the Panthers off to the best possible start, showing great strength to get over the line after an offload by prop Lindsay Smith. Brendan Hands converted to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead after just three minutes.

After having to spend some time defending their line, the Panthers bagged their second try in the 15th minute as Matt Burton threw a slick ball out the back for Charlie Staines to slice through.

Just a few plays into the Panthers’ next set, Staines finished off a brilliant long-range effort. The Panthers shifted it down the left edge inside their own half before the ball made its way back in to Staines, who put the foot down and raced away. Hands added the goal to make it 16-0.

Glenn McGrady joined the growing list of try-scorers in the 25th minute, pouncing on a deft grubber by Brendan Hands, whose conversion made it 22-0.

The Sea Eagles looked to have pulled one back when winger Simi Afeaki dived for the corner, but the Panthers rushed across and he stepped into touch.

Penrith went straight up the other end stretched it to 26-0 when the left edge kept the ball alive and hooker Ryan Pritchard applied the finishing touch in the corner.

Some lazy defence at the end of the first half proved costly however, as Afeaki crossed for Manly to trim the margin down to 22 points.

HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 26 – SEA EAGLES 4

It was business as usual to start the second half, as Matt Burton scored an opportunistic try. Pritchard put a kick through which was cleaned up by the Manly fullback, before Burton pinched it off him to touch down.

McGrady showed off his speed as the Panthers scored their seventh try in the 45th minute, busting into open space down the right edge before finding Hands in support, who added another goal to make it 38-4.

With the result already beyond reasonable doubt, the Panthers became a bit complacent towards the end of the match, allowing the Sea Eagles to pull one back through fullback Keegan Turner in the 51st minute.

Consecutive penalties by the Panthers allowed Manly to spend an extended period in the red zone in the final 10 minutes, but Penrith’s strong goal line defence made up for their poor discipline.

A brilliant solo try by Matt Burton with two minutes to go put the icing on the cake. After making a line break but with little room to work with, the five-eighth grubbered through for himself, raced around the Manly fullback via the sideline, and got back into the field of play to pounce on the ball.

Hands wrapped up proceedings with a sideline conversion to give the Panthers a 34-point win.

FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 44 - SEA EAGLES 10