Panthers bury Bears with first half blitz

The Jersey Flegg Panthers have guaranteed themselves a finals berth with a resounding 56-6 win over North Sydney Bears at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.

The victory means Penrith are some chance snatching a top four finish when they face the Sea Eagles next Sunday at HE Laybutt Field.

The Panthers had not won in four weeks after a string of draws and losses but they were clinical at North Sydney Oval, running out comfortable winners.

The first of six first-half tries saw winger Matthew Faauila drift across field before breaking through the middle and running away to score.

Fullback Daine Laurie, who made a successful return from an ankle injury, impressed from the back with his speed and footwork proving a handful for the Bears defence.

It was on full display as he sliced through to put Adam Fearnley over for the second try of the afternoon.

A great charge from Lindsay Smith then paved the way for John Trimboli to barge over, again off the work of Laurie close to the line.

The nifty full back was at it once more minutes later when he put in a well-weighted grubber that looked set to force a goal-line dropout, only for Fearnley to steal the ball late and nab his second.

A fantastic leap from Jake Tago then saw Justin Jones go over in the corner but the Panthers weren’t done for the half.

Lock and skipper J’maine Hopgood stepped through the line and showed a great turn of pace to sprint away and find Jack Quinn backing up in support.

Halfback Brendan Hands was successful with all but one conversion.

HALF-TIME: Panthers 34 Bears 0

Penrith started the second half where they left off as Glenn McGrady weaved his way through the line to score early.

But an error off the restart handed the Bears prime field position and they eventually broke through off a crash ball to Jubilee Soloa.

After surrendering leads in recent matches against the Raiders and Bulldogs, the Panthers put in a more resilient effort on Sunday as they held out North Sydney.

They added to their points tally once more as Hopgood forced his way over next to the posts.

Having scored two of his own, Fearnley then spotted space behind the line and kicked through for Terrell May as Penrith hit the half century.

Faauila scored late off the back of a couple of offloads to blow the score out further. Hands again missed just the one conversion in the second forty.

FULL-TIME: Panthers 56 Bears 6